I went to campus today for the first time since March 10th! I went to clean out my classroom. Teachers I’d conferenced with who went earlier in the week said it was eerie, the school frozen in time, with students’ materials left behind and work samples still on the walls. I braced myself.
I found my room in a state of disarray. Clearly everyone had left in a rush, grabbing what they could, cleaning desks methodically and arranging as much as many things as possible before they left. I was absent for the last two days of school because I was sick with what my doctor diagnosed over the phone as “a virus” and was advised to stay home until I did not show symptoms.
Pulling my students work off the walls was difficult. I thought of their proud faces as they examined the evidence of their accomplishments when I first posted it on the wall. We worked painstakingly hard on a phonics and spelling program from September through March. My students learned to mark the phonetic sounds of words with symbols and codes, much like what you would find in a dictionary. I found the detail and dedication in their work extraordinary.
The last thing I did was take down the whiteboard covered in letters and sounds which is pictured above. This was my main teaching tool all year. Again, it was painful to pluck the magnets off the wall and store them back in their box. Those magnetic cards became an extension of my vocabulary, and it was a shared vocabulary between me and my first class of students. I will miss those students very much.