It is Friday, Good Friday, and our spring break is winding down. Last year for spring break we were in Michigan and we watched the lake ice melt. I spent the remainder of last school year – April and May – teaching from our cottage in Michigan. This year, we are in the keys of Florida and it has been very relaxing. We’ve been safe or as safe as one can be in the world of COVID19, social distancing, and mask mandates.
This year spring break has a different outcome. Last year I was returning from break to remote learning – something I had never done – posting assignments by 8AM and monitoring student progress, using ZOOM to connect with my students and using email and comments on assignments to provide feedback. This year I am returning to having most students in class four days each week and the remainder joining class remotely via ZOOM.
Much has changed since last year and I am thankful, very thankful. This year there is hope, while last year there was fear and uncertainty. Even with hope, there is still some fear and uncertainty, but I have found that when I focus on what I can control and for the rest what I am unable to control, I rely on my faith and pray that hope rises above fear.
A week ago, Monday, I opened my email and found that my Lenten Journal had been published. I smiled and shared it with a few folks, and now I share it with you.
I had written the reflection in mid-January as we were preparing to begin hybrid teaching and learning. Hybrid teaching is having some students in class and the remainder remotely on ZOOM. In January, we had divided the students who wanted to be in school into two groups an A group – last names A-L and a B group – last names M-Z. The A group attended Tuesday and Wednesday and the B group attended Thursday and Friday. In all, I had a little more than a third of my students in class for at least two days of instruction and those students who were not in class attended class remotely via ZOOM. It took a bit of learning on my part and my student’s part but we figured it out. We made it work.
Below is my Lenten reflection.
“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light. (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth)..” Ephesians 5:8-9
I teach 6th grade science and recently added an iPad as an extra screen to help manage my classroom with students in class and those following along at home. It helps me to create a single classroom and bring together the students who are in the room with those who are at home on Zoom. The iPad suggested I try ‘dark mode’ to help me better see the screen and improve the battery life of my device. But I soon discovered that it made reading more difficult for me and following along in class, dark mode became a burden and I turned off ‘dark mode.’
The world is full of light and but there is darkness. Light and darkness are the opening lines of the Bible when on the first day, God makes light declaring light ‘day’ and dark ‘night.’ This past year has challenged us with its darkness, but there has been light. This winter has had its cloudy stormy days and each winter storm has been followed by brilliant sunlight with clear blue bright skies. It’s these sunny days which give me hope that we can live in the light and overcome the darkness. Like my iPad where I have a choice of dark or light mode, I can choose to use the energy of those sunny days full of light to lift me up and carry me forward on those days when it is dark and cloudy and stormy.
Lord, thank you for the sunny days and the cloudy days. Help me to see that there is light on those days even when it seems that it is not present. Help me to live my life in the light and spread the light to others around me. Amen
Let the light shine on your life by making time to enjoy the daylight by being outside or near a window that lets in the light. Share the joy of the light with others by calling a friend or sending a note to them.
Much has changed since those first days of hybrid learning, a few students returned to remote learning and in late February my school district announced we would begin four days of instruction and expand the number of students in class. After spring break, I will have 7 of 10 of my students in class for teaching and learning four days a week. In May we will transition to being in school 5 days a week. I am excited.
There has been a lot of learning which has taken place this past year. Perhaps more than many will admit. But I think the true learning is that we should let light prevail and worry less about the things which are beyond our control.
Let light prevail.
It is sort of like making the days count. I believe most of us practice the idea of making our days count in some form or fashion. Imagine a world where ALL of us shared the light.
It’s Friday of spring break I have one more day in the sunlight of the Keys. So, I’d better jump in, jump out, and seize the day. Making the Days COUNT one day at a time sharing the light of the world in all that I do.
Share your light… thank you.