Slice of Life Tuesday is hosted by Two Writing Teachers
It is dark and dank when I leave for school. A cold drizzle sweeps across the roadways, and I settle into the drive to the beat of windshield wipers. My headlights pick up hulking shadows by the side of the road – Christmas trees dragged out the night before in time for the final leaf pick up of the year just past. They look spent, all their holiday sparkle now a distant memory.
Our classroom looks smaller, somehow, when I walk in. With a jolt I remember that I had forgotten to put our desks back in their usual formation the afternoon I hurried out for winter break: our “dance floor” greets me, as do the sticky remains of our holiday party. Our classroom needs to be brought quickly into 2017, and so I set to work.
Before long, I hear students climbing up the stairs and making their way into hallways. Their treads sound lethargic, heavy with regret and foreboding. Their voices, usually filled with the boisterous exuberance of middle school, sound subdued and sleepy as well. So, I am prepared for what walks into our classroom: sorrowful children, morose that winter break is over, unused to being awake when it’s still dark outside, and tired…oh, so tired.
Soon, the bell rings and our day officially begins with the Pledge and morning announcements. We are on automatic pilot, going through the motions with whatever energy is there to summon…which is not very much, it seems. And then there is a moment when we consider each other, quietly.
September’s shiny novelty has worn off: everything from our pencil cases to our lunch boxes are on their journey from “spanking new” to “well worn with good use”. And, I suppose, you can say the same for us – the novelty of being together as a learning community has settled into the comfort and challenge of knowing all about each other, and working hard together anyway.
That’s the shift after winter break; all the adjustments and getting-to-know-each-others is out of the way; now begins the work of pushing ourselves to reach higher, to take what we have learned of ourselves as learners and set new goals rather than just settle in.
So, we consider each other. We know each other well enough to know what we are thinking at this moment: here we all are, let’s breathe out the old year and let’s breathe in the new.