Like so many others, working from home has become the new norm for me. Happily, my current position as a digital learning coach makes this transition pretty seamless, and, as a comfortable denizen of the techno-world, I’m quite pleased with my abilities to work from the comfort of my home.
However, my current position also removes me from many of the responsibilities that other educators are taking on during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic.
I didn’t have to pivot my instruction from in-person classes to some form of emergency online learning in a 48-hour span. My task was to support my teachers in their efforts, providing them options and training on educational technology tools that can be used for remote learning.
I hosted several video conferences for teachers but I didn’t have to check on the well-being of students, whether the students or their families decided to respond to the numerous emails, phone calls, texts, and even letters sent to homes. I provided avenues for teachers to use to make these contacts but didn’t have to make any myself.
I recognize that, once the initial flood of technology support calls, email threads debating the virtues (and security issues) of Zoom, Google Meet, FaceTime, Teams, training sessions, wrangling three dozen new Google Classrooms as a co-teacher, and creating more videos than I had made in the previous six months subsided, life calmed down for me.
However, I still hoped that we would return to some sort of normal and I could return to my office.
It was not to be. In late April, Kentucky schools closed to in-person instruction for the remainder of the 2019-2020 school year.
Suddenly, the reality set in that I would likely need a more suitable work area for our house. Working from our old kitchen table amongst piles of papers and books (the realities of also taking education specialist courses) just wasn’t going to be an option any more.
We upgraded my area with a great desk. And at the same time, I was able to reclaim a bit of my geek life that I hadn’t seen in a while.
Now at the top of my desk are my various Potato Heads. Some Star Wars, some Transformers, some football. Even an Indiana Jones. I’ve also got some figures from Lord of The Rings and some actual Transformers. Plus Robert Plant (a hard-to-kill desk plant of some variety that I don’t remember, but he’s cool).
I’ve not had a place to have these things out since we moved to our current house. Not because we couldn’t make a space. Because I chose not to put them out. And I’m not really sure why.
I mean, yes, they’re pretty dorky. But they make me happy. And sometimes that’s what you need. Even when there isn’t a global pandemic going on and so many people aren’t sure how they’re going to get thought, it’s good to have a place that is yours.
Even if it’s small. Even if it’s just a desk. Somewhere you can have things that bring you joy. A refuge.
Because everyone needs a retreat. Everyone need a place they can go to refresh and refuel.
Where’s your place?