The Last Day
I keep a Word document open on my computer that serves as my planner. Inside is a table I use as a calendar, and I look ahead as many weeks as rows can fit on the page. It’s crude and dependable, like many systems that stick around.
I update the calendar, and the file name, as weeks and months pass. A recent update to May Plan.docx put the final instructional day on my calendar. Visualizing that day was a powerful moment.
Eight months ago it wasn’t clear how even the most basic elements of school would function. How was “hybrid” instruction going to work? How many students would be in the building? How many teachers? Which courses would be taught, and which dropped? Visualizing the last day of instruction would have been impossible then.
Even after the basic elements were set, it took me months to feel even slightly competent at my job, and months more to feel like I was starting to be effective. Now I’ve figured some things out, and I’m having enough day-to-day success to feel like a teacher again. And as I plan for the end, I realize that, for the most part, I’ve successfully executed the curricular plan I put in place in September, when I had virtually no idea what lay ahead. Being able to imagine the final day of instruction at all feels like an achievement, and to see it as the end of something successful feels a bit like a miracle.
The stretch run to the final day is always an exciting and challenging time. Usually it’s a time for me to experiment, but since everything’s been an experiment this year, I’ll be content with my small successes, delivering the courses I set out to deliver, and deleting the final row from June Plan.docx.