I didn’t go to work today. Instead, I took a personal day to attend the Joint Committee on Education hearing at the State House. (I was actually lucky enough to testify before the Committee about this, thanks to this amazing organization!)
My day started similarly enough; after dropping K off at daycare, I went to Starbucks. But at 8:45, I was walking through Harvard Yard, sipping my chai latte. At 8:55, I crammed into the tin rocket of the Red Line, my body crushed against the bodies of other people for whom this day was part of their typical schedule. At 9:05 I was rattling underneath the streets of Cambridge instead of listening to the rhythmic hum of the copier. Every time I glanced at the clock for the rest of the day, I thought: “Oh, this is what I would be doing if I was at school today.” I have spent practically my entire life in school. Pre-school to kindergarten to elementary school to middle school to high school to college to grad school to teaching: I have never not been invested in the daily work of schools.
Occasionally I forget that this is not how the other half of the world lives and works. If I were a lawyer, a secretary, working in banking or business, this day would have been commonplace. I spent the entire day with adults. I went out for lunch in the middle of the day — at an actual restaurant — and had more than 25 minutes to swallow my food. I got to look at my phone whenever I wanted. I watched the Boston Public Schools students take over Park Street and did not feel compelled to enter Teacher Mode (well, a little bit, but I resisted).
On my walk home at the totally strange hour of 2:00pm (a time I would normally be reminding my 4th period class to keep it together for another 30 minutes), I saw these
poking through my neighbor’s yard. With all the wacky weather we’ve had lately, I sort of forgot that we have crested the verge of spring: crocuses, budding trees, the yellow mist of forsythia.
I know days like this won’t happen very often, but it was a nice break, a chance to breathe. Every day for 180 days, we GO GO GO GO GO, chained to the bell schedule, after-school meetings, professional development, living lives of our own when we take off our teacher hats. Today reminded me that when I take on too much, try to simultaneously look backwards at what my students just did and forwards at what they’re going to do next, I forget to simply stop and notice what’s happening around me.