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Jamie Langley

On a morning in March I visited my classroom
to gather items from my classroom.
Not imagining time to be long, I watered
and left my plants on the bookshelves by the windows.
I discovered that during a pandemic I can get along
with fewer decisions. What to expect is clearly not
the lens we are using. The structure of a calendar
opens in new ways allowing space for personalization.
More for me in my life than the anticipated role of
personalization in my newly forming classes. I became
a practicing writer, as I led my students through weekly
essays preparing for an AP exam. One writer leading
many writers. I moved through April losing a favorite musician,
Passover for two, and no clear vision of what might be next.
What to expect is clearly not the lens we are using.
Before long it was May with traditional end of year landmarks
but without the structure of the days, of the weeks. Eleventh graders
waking up and coming together before logging on to a 45 minute
exam from the comfort of more than 80 bedrooms around the
city outscoring the students of the past in rows of tables and chairs
in a gymnasium. What to expect is clearly not the lens we are using.
Summer melted into a Dali-esque landscape until I accepted control
adding a workout to my days of walking dogs and writing.
School schedules as varied as the elastic ties I use to tie back my hair
came and went. I planned in fits and starts fed by antiracist ideas
for revisioning curriculum narrowing a focus. Online instruction
seasoned my thinking. Books took turns on my nightstand
filling my head and days. Tomorrow our faculty meets for the first day
to plan and learn about an upcoming year. What to expect
is clearly not the lens we are using.

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