Post workout after walking the dog,
Still in my gear, it’s nearly dry,
Shorts, a t-shirt, a flannel added for warmth,
But it isn’t helping,
Nineteen outside, no melting today,
Cold inside, coffee is already cold, fingers stiff.

A two-hour delay,
The roads are supposed to be bad.
It wasn’t true, I checked earlier,
They hardly ever seem bad anymore
Brining or something,
A steamy shower is calling.

Back to work,
Virtual learning is something else,
No wonder kids are struggling so.
To days, that’s all it took,
And I settled right into vacation mode,
Hang in there kids, I get it.
Two more, a bit of a break from the screens,
Then we’ll finish off this semester,
Hopefully, getting back to real school,
Not hybrid, that’s like imitation crab,
Only a copy, the real thing it isn’t.

Tomorrow, today by the time of the post,
I’ll be sitting in a classroom,
Maybe alone, maybe with a colleague,
We’ll teach our lessons, talk about football,
Then drift into that virtual haze
We see coming through the computer back at us.
The end of the day will limp towards the break
And Tuesday will pass quickly.
You guys, girls, gender neutral pronoun kids will make it,
We all will
And hopefully in 2021, we’ll all be back together,
Like it is supposed to be.

Old Bert Bell never knew how important he’d be
The NFL is but a pittance of what he was.
Today he became everything to me
Just because.

Because the day was super slow,
The virus spreading boredom online,
So we decided to see if we were in the know
With a trivial test from the digital brine.

A list of winners was our resource,
Players receiving Bell’s award,
I asked O the questions, of course
We lost track of how many he scored.

For just awhile, logins did not matter,
We lived a few minutes of intellectual fun
Tomorrow will probably bring drivel and patter
Neither ending until this viral thing is done.

“Everyone is going to be annoyed at first,” said the journeyman.

He knew, school in a virtual setting, after a summer away,
Well, people were going to be pissed off.

As they say, “Better than being pissed on,”
Unless you like that kind of thing,
Which is outside of my comfort zone,
But let’s get back to the journeyman.

He knows, rightfully, that people don’t do great with change,
Especially something as stagnant as school,
Where heavy textbooks are still the norm,
Compliance, coercion, and control rival the ABCs, and
The day still resembles a time clock punching work shift.

“Everyone is going to be annoyed at first,” said the journeyman.

“Not just the kids, though,” answered the master of the shop.

He knew, teaching in a virtual setting, after a career of pen and paper,
We’ll, it was quite and adjustment.

As they say, “Don’t be a dinosaur,”
Meaning, “change or die,”
Which is inside my comfort zone,
As I am the master of this shop.

I know, rightfully, that change can be a shock,
Especially in something as institutionalized as school,
Where the routine steals a soul,
Laziness, avoidance, and blame rival strong work ethics and
The day looks like whatever level of acceptance a person places on it.

“Not everyone has to be,” said the master of the shop.

“It will be what we make of it. Make it better.”

colorful clown toy

There were a few minutes left in the longest school day of the year. My students were deep into a battle of kickball when the emergency lights around the gym started blinking. The calm and panic-inducing voice commanding everyone to leave the building. We went out into the blinding sun and winter’s wind. Luckily, the sun was winning and it wasn’t too cold. The students walked to the safe zone and we waited to hear what could have caused the unexpected building evacuation. Fortunately, nothing was too wrong. A bag of microwavable popcorn burned. The smoke ended the day.

It was like I had never been in a classroom before. They looked at me like I was some kind of freak speaking a language they had never heard. In less than two weeks, either I had forgotten how to teach or they had no clue what I had taught them over the last four months. This was no dream. This was first period after the holiday recess. I scrambled for the right things to say recognizing that time has a way of bringing things back. Somewhere in a story about my high school teacher, they came back to life.

A student looked rushed to get to class. I often offer hall passes to students when they are late, especially when they look as stressed as this young person did.

“How are you?” I asked.

“Late,” he replied.

“Do you want a pass?” I asked.

“No, nobody’s gonna mess with a kid who has cancer.”

I was caught off guard. He went his way. I went mine.

Some things are bigger than being late for third period, huh?