Thursday, April 16, 2020

Room 614

Walking through the back door of school seemed normal yesterday. As I turned the corner and made my way to the back corner, my small space in the wing, the normalcy disappeared.

It wasn't because I haven't walked the halls in four weeks. It wasn't because I didn't see students giving high-fives or special handshakes, or huddling near lockers, or throwing their heads back and laughing, as middle schoolers do.

I could still imagine those scenes. Maybe, I needed to imagine those scenes.

But when I walked into my classroom, my breath hung in the air.

The summer cleaning had begun. The desks were moved to the back, the carpet was shampooed, and the pencil sharpener was emptied.

It wasn't time. I wasn't ready. This wasn't supposed to happen yet.  Packing up my room for the summer is the exclamation point on "yes, we made it." And we didn't make it.

My eyes wandered to the student notebooks, still in the tubs with stories unwritten; books, disheveled on the shelves from the frantic moments of choosing one before we left for spring break. The pronoun folder of resources for the lessons when we returned still sat on my desk. Nothing seemed to know that we wouldn't be coming back.

Not being able to say goodbye to my students hasn't quite set in yet. I still "talk" to them online, although it is not the same. But yesterday, I clearly understood that the learning that happens in room 614 had ended. I felt it for the first time since March 13th.

And that was hard.


  1. This really touched me, Leigh Anne: "And we didn't make it." I am no longer teaching, but I remember the joys of April & May, the times we really loved each other as a group & I began the journey to the ending, the goodbyes. I know you and all the teachers are missing that sweet time. Love how you showed it.

  2. "Nothing seemed to know that we wouldn't be coming back."
    This sentence sums up the suddenness and confusion of the school year coming to an abrupt end. It isn't the same now. I am retired now so I am spared this particular heartbreak.
    (Hi Leigh Anne! It is good to be connecting again!)

  3. Nothing seemed to know that we wouldn't be coming back.

    That was the line that made me gasp too. I still can’t wrap my head around not finishing the school year together. My room sits waiting for our return. There hasn’t been a final call yet here in Illinois, but I know in my heart. And I will have to grapple with those same heartbreaking feelings like you. You captured the hearts and thoughts of Teachers across the world. (And you are never an intruder! A welcomed addition to story sharing!!)

  4. Put me on the list for a favorite line: Nothing seemed to know that we wouldn't be coming back.

    I'm glad you wrote this. Your raw honesty is palpable and the strength of your craft for unfolding the scene gave me goosebumps. I'm so glad you wrote...I'm so glad I get to be your writing buddy.

    Shine on,

  5. You brought together so many feelings here...and how hard this time is. There's something special about our together space and I hope your visit will help you on this journey.

  6. So sorry. This feels so wrongly final. It's complicated to process this. I hope you have internal and external resources to help you through this time. I hope that writing helped.

  7. I was standing beside you looking at the life waiting to resume, and heartbroken that it won't. The life of a classroom can never be replicated on-line. Slowly over time I suppose the sting of these days will diminish, but it will always leave a hole in your heart. So glad you shared!

  8. I have been so glad, multiple times, that I mostly teach sophomores. Saying goodbye is rarely final. In fact, last year a student in one of my rare freshman classes moved away – and then this year she moved back mid-February! That was a nice surprise.

    I will get to see most of my students (perhaps even all of them) next year. I'm scheduled to go pack up my room on Tuesday. It'll be interesting to see how that feels.

    1. Weird. This was me. It claimed that it would be able to record my Google account... and then it didn't! ;D

  9. In my mind, I keep trying to think how I would handle this whole situation if I was still teaching full time. I just can't wrap my head around it--if I could hug you, I would.

  10. Hello Leigh Anne, So good to see you here! Those notebooks with the stories unwritten. Such a picture in my mind. I'm glad we are now connected through #sosmagic!

  11. It is so vital for me to hear voices from the classroom that validate my feelings right now. My heart aches for you, for this moment. We have not been allowed to return to school to pack up. I am both dreading it and craving the closure, the finality, I know it will bring. I am so glad you linked up to nudge me to visit your words!

  12. Popped on in here unexpectedly dropped in on this post. I am retired and have tried to put myself in the place of all the teachers out there. I could certainly feel the wind being knocked out of you upon entering the room. I know I would have felt them same. Tears came for the notebooks left waiting.