I had a meltdown. OK, it wasn’t the first meltdown. If you want me to be really honest, I’ve had more than a few. OK, it’s on the verge of becoming a habit. I’m alarmed about these meltdowns. This isn’t my normal reaction. I get nervous. I can become frustrated. I cry. But not like this.
This time it was 2:00 on a Friday. I taught my remote first graders in the morning, covered my midday arrival and dismissal duties, helped a teacher get ready for a test session, modeled a reading assessment, grabbed some yogurt, coached a new K teacher, and came to my computer to meet with my colleagues to plan for the computerized testing we would be delivering to our remote first grade students next week. I felt pretty good about the testing. I had attended a review PD, I’ve done the testing before (just not remotely), and I had made sure to go into a kindergarten classroom to watch the kids login so that I was sure I knew what to do when my own students were confused or had trouble and I wasn’t able to see their screens.
That’s when things started….As our meeting started, I shared a few tips I had just learned in the classroom about signing on for the test. I see one of my colleagues shaking her head. “That’s not how it works when we do the test remotely,” she said. There had been changes to the procedures we had received training on a few days before. There were emails that had to be sent to parents (Did I mention that the testing is to start on Monday?). Then there were emails replacing those emails because there had been errors. There were more emails that I hadn’t read yet that explained these new logins and procedures for distance learning.
My colleagues were ahead of me. They had read the emails and even begun to set up their Google Classrooms and slides for next week. I was behind. That anxious feeling began to flutter inside. “Oh, and my tech person says that when the kids sign in, they will probably get an error message that says, “Ooooops!” Just have them click on the red box in the bar and then select the top choice that pops up. That should do it.” What? We already know that kids are going to get an error message when they sign in? That anxious feeling began to build. Less like a flutter, and more like a banging in my chest. I have a lot to learn, and I need to learn it quickly.
I furiously started reading emails and trying to listen to my colleagues at the same time. One email said to have parents help their children with logging in to the test each morning. Hmmm…I have some parents who are working while their children are with me. I don’t know that they are available at 9:30 every day this week. I’ll send them another email. Another part of the email says that we should be prepared for students to take up to thirty minutes just to log in to the test. What? I only have a short day with my students, and this is going to happen every day this week? I’ll have to revise my plans.
It’s Friday, and today, of all days, I have to leave early for a doctor’s appointment. I don’t have time to take this all in. It’s all too much. It’s all coming too fast and too late. I have so much to do. So much to catch up on. I don’t have time to do any of this right now. That’s when it happens. I can feel it…. creeping up, through my chest, into my throat. Now it’s pressing against the back of my eyes. Do I yell? Do I cry? I want to stop it, but I can’t. I have another meltdown. Right there on the screen. I try to sign off, say I have to go, hit the video icon to turn off the camera and quickly mute the mic. But it’s too late. Another meltdown has been added to the list.