I slowed the car as I tried to read the numbers on the mailboxes. 3, 5, 7…This must be it. I turned in. I pulled the car down the long driveway. There were two houses. Hmmm…Which one is the right one? That’s when I saw the white pom pom on the top of a pink knit hat peeking out of the gate. Could that be her? Was that Sophia? She looked so tiny! Well she is only six. Then I saw a small boy and a mother. That’s definitely Sophia’s mom! “That’s her!” I heard Sophia’s mom say as the three of them came running out of the gate, waving like crazy. Sophia is a leader in our class. She has organized card making events, birthday parties, and even a read aloud during snack time. But here, in person, she was acting quite shy. I imagine it’s strange to see your teacher live for the first time too. Maybe I look huge! We chatted and laughed. We exchanged gifts. We even threw a few snowballs. Sophia began to giggle and talk. She started to return to her true outgoing self. Then she and her brother sang me a Christmas song. It was a beautiful moment. I will forever savor it.
I’ve been teaching a class of first graders remotely since August. I’ve only seen my students in small boxes in a grid on a screen. It’s the strangest thing to never have seen your students in person. So when my first grade team decided we would get some small gifts for our students, I decided I would deliver them in person. I’ve delivered about half of the gifts to half of my families. Each encounter happening in a driveway or on a front step. Finally connecting with my students and families face to face (well, masked face to masked face) has been nothing short of magical.