Next year is 21…

Next year I will begin my 21st year of teaching. This year was hell. We can all agree. But what was worse than teaching to my little lost bubbles, was the digging deep to not emotionally lose them, and crying during the times I truly almost did. I found myself lost in my own shell as a teacher to the mysterious virtual world I lived inside. My normal soft hearted ways turned tough. With every new build of a virtual modules with countless varieties of materials needed to reach my peeps, another wall went up. The creative work allowed me to hide from our year long reality. I just kept busy. Each wall I built protected me from the kids truly difficult lives, and my own occasional pity party. Losing a year of human connection especially for a teacher is odd at best. It was hit and miss in the beginning but now I cannot remember what it is like inside the not so virtual walls of education. To me that is scary.

As I stated my chosen virtual world was sketchy at first but now part of me absolutely loves this new gaming world due to the creative methods of teaching, and let’s just say after twenty years I have done it all, literally. So this keeps my spark going. But that teacher part, the heart part, aches. That is something I cannot get back. However, since I am a positive gal I found a huge silver lining. My knowledge of technology went from a solid low single digits to triple digits on an average day. I began with just the basics of social media platform knowledge and texting with one thumb, which still plagues my cell saviness, but I am quick, know the lingo, and can challenge you on any tech platform to date. Ok. Not worth a year away from humans but the skills are priceless for my students and ultimate bragging rights for this old gal.

This post began with our recent “celebration” of the anniversary of hiding away from a virus that attacked the life we once knew. So much has changed. As a teacher at this time of year we start planning for next year. However, I do not know my next years direction. So the planning will have to wait. I am unsure of my school and grade level and at spring break this is frustrating but understandable. Districts around our state and the United States are still figuring out where our kids have been, as many have floated in and out of the public system long enough to be part of school, but educationally lost and without an actual daily home of learning. This did make me cry at night, in the beginning, but with the fortress I have built during this travesty, the tears have stopped. I am not proud of pushing away my feelings, but I had no choice. My long game was to survive the reality and damage education went through this year.

Next year, wherever I land, I will ring in 21 with joy and hopefully a softer heart. The outings will increase, the smiles will come back, and life will begin to make sense again. As for this year. I believe kids and teachers will eventually be ok. We all need a long summer of hugs and tons of fearless outings to welcome back a life after Covid-19. I will not forget this year, but perhaps, I will take more away from it aside from being ultra tech savvy. Just perhaps, I will enjoy life more sweetly than before and that will bring my hardened heart back to life.

The Year of Play

In 2021 I am gonna play. The simple definition of play is to engage in activity for enjoyment and recreation rather than a serious or practical purpose. Sounds much better than being all grown up and oh so serious every single day. I have done that long enough so I deserve a break. We all do.

Now, truth be told I have been adulting so long that play is foreign. Over the holidays I was reintroduced to the concept by my grandson. At first, I just played any game he desired but I did it as an adult. Not the same. As an adult we get bored, we worry about toy pieces, where the toys will be housed, is this a good toy for development etc. It is exhausting. So I left my reality over the holidays and entered his fantastical experience.

All time and space stopped when I looked into his eyes and did whatever he wanted and together we made each game or activity even bigger. Stuffed animals became babies taking a nap. Who cares, if we are tardy for anything. Diapers were needed on the adult view of stuffed animals which were obvious babies without their needed accoutrements. Unfortunately, my son had no more bottles in the house, as we were ready to go to the next level. Note to self, send bottles. ABC games became a place where my voice and voices brought laughter. Paw Patrol anything was just over the top fun with the focus on the chase to solve the next problem. The mailbox in Blues Clues house became a series of letters to my nugget. Note to self, send real mail. It brings joy. I became immersed. I laughed. I forgot about the reality of life. I found my smile, my true one behind each game, hug, hand holding experience. Oh and my laugh. I found my real laugh. Not the giggle at cuteness. A belly laugh that brought tears of joy. That one. It exists. 2020 did not rip it away from me forever and it was a pleasure to have it back. Now obviously, without being checked into a pysch ward I must leave our little fantasy world and tackle daily life but my vow is to always find a bit of play in any activity to take away the mundane and bring the needed joy that 2020 obviously sapped from my soul into 2021. I will dress up more, wear more make-up (even under my mask), wear the good jewelry, and eat off the good china, well at least a couple times but I will drink my champagne out of our good crystal that is locked away like a prisoners. They will be free in 2021. My dinners will be more varied, and while I hate cooking, I will delight in my hubs appreciation. I will sing more and loudly during my new found love of spinning and will not beat myself up if I am exhausted and can’t get on the saddle. Instead, I will do yoga. Life is short. I will doodle in color and write my class lessons to always include play. My virtual students deserve to find their play as their days in 2020 have been met with confusion and a world of fear.

So onto my year of play. The year of laughter, smiles, hugs, and pure enjoyment that is priceless and found inside of every child, and if you look closely, within yourself. My challenge to you is to bring out your play, in whatever form works for you, as it has not been completely lost. Trust me once you find it you will never ever let it go!

Happy New Year!

2020…A Positive Spin

To title a blog with 2020 leads to many obvious thoughts that we all have running through our heads. 2020 leads you to believe that this is just another blog or inner rambling (my personal style) noting displeasure or vast inner growth that the ground hog year of years has brought through frustration or obvious great introspection through a varity of the free or the sneaky paid apps.I tried. The testing began with the hope that each was the magic pill to my distaste for exercise but my desire for fitness. We all have our 2020 stories, but I do not want to spend the next week reliving 2020, do you? This hell is still not over and our recovery both economically and mentally will take time. Do I really need to send one more blog into the atmosphere about the obvious. I think not. My rambling today has everything and nothing to do with 2020 or the P word. It is about my new obsession, another P word. Peloton. Which is everything 2020 without the horror. Read on.

Now, I am a teacher. So this is my version of Peloton light. Work with me. Buying this was a process not a whim and a charge card. Would I have preferred that ease? Sure. We all would, but I am saving for my yacht so frugality counts. My riding choice is Echelon but their monthly rate and technical irritation led me to the Peloton app. For $11.99 a month and a company that offered (I missed this boat) three months free are my kind of people. They are woke on every level which keeps me in touch with humanity or the inner liberal loop. These thoughts (not harmful to my ways) are a nice balance to my traditional views on life. In my world not everyone gets a trophy. Good we are clear. I love my P, but now I am cheater who is having sleepless nights due to my scandalous ways. I am an E rider with a P app. This should not be, and like others in this dilemma it was not my intention. However, it is love and it works my champagne tastes and pasta budget. Living in this new framework is hard for a rule follower like myself. But until my body and my yacht filled bank account is ready for a shopping spree, the entire Peloton trigger needs to stay in partial mode. I am who I am. My time at home has found me trying a variety of fitness apps but none like this. The Peloton way is an odd feeling of friendship, community, and instruction with the greatest blend of music along with free psychology sessions. Smart. They hit my needs with talented cyclists/trainers who are glammed, scripted, and ready to hit their mark.

As a beginner, all the trainers make me feel motivated to get on the bike everyday. I have not done “everyday” since I gave up my pricey yoga studio life. Home exercise has been my mainstay since I departed the studio and a constant battle that my body was not winning. Excuses are easily found around every corner in my world. Work, cleaning a bathroom, that closet. Check, check, check and check. Until now. I get on my E everyday and tune into P between 4-6pm. I chose this time as is the end of my workday and my commitment to myself. Even on my days off from school and the weekends, this is my time. This new regimen requires finding the watch, setting up the casting P to my TV and sinking with E for stats. Cheapness comes at a cost. Simple this is not. Excuses still call my name but once in the saddle and the instructor starts at Act 1 Scene 1, I smile brightly and start into my journey that brings me a new found desire for consistency with a side of counseling and joy that in the long run will replace my thoughts about my cheating ways.