I am late in sending out my customary blogworld Christmas greetings this year due to an unexpected family emergency. Gingerbread Man (of “My Velveteen Rabbit” fame) had to go to the hospital.
One week beforehand a problem had been discovered and all thoughts of work or Christmas preparations or Covid lockdowns dissipated. The focus turned entirely to health issues.
Last Wednesday, Gingerbread Man arrived at the clinic and was admitted. A whirlwind ensued. Two procedures were done on Thursday and Friday, the doped-up recovery began on Saturday. On Sunday, he was already allowed to go home – with a list of medications and a little less stuffing. He’s a bit blurry about the whole experience but remembers A LOT of needles and that the food there really sucked.
The early release was lucky, because it gave us all enough time to do any neglected preparations and pull off – somewhat contrary to earlier expectations – a wonderful Christmas Eve.
I’m happy to be able to tell you that Gingerbread Man is feeling a little better each day. He spends a lot of his time now in the new recliner with his new electric blanket. Here he is, staring at the Christmas tree lights, basking in nice memories and hopeful feelings for the future.
It was a Saturday three weeks ago, when I finally reserved the whole afternoon to start catching up on blog reading. I started, of course, with Ly and was horrified to discover that I had to scroll all the way back to early September to find where I had left off. (Yes, I am a terrible friend.) I spent an enjoyable few hours until being interrupted by a press conference. All schools were closing till the second week of December. I switched immediately into work mode and basically stayed there till . . . well . . . till yesterday. My cushy, reduced-to-two-days work week, now extended to seven days. For non-educators out there, I can tell you that distance-teaching is about three times as time intensive. It is also relentless and exhausting.
So, everyone was happy to hear that the schools were reopening next week. To celebrate our final online English lesson, I made a special quiz game for my class that they seemed to really enjoy. After gathering on the learning platform, all the kids turned on the “Chat” function. I asked a question and they all typed in their answers as quickly as they could. I awarded points to the first three correct ones. Minor spelling mistakes were allowed.
For the final question in the quiz, I decided to ask something really simple. I said, “Question Number 20. Ready? What is today’s date?” The answers started rolling in:
After the first 10 or so tries, the shock and horror began bubbling up inside of me. I started giving them little tips about ordinal numbers and capitalization. They kept trying.
At this point I was holding my head in my hands. Tiny whimpering noises were escaping from me. Finally, one girl wrote an answer that I could technically accept. I ended the response period and typed in a few possible correct variations. Two more guesses straggled in as I was doing so.
After 39 years of teaching English, my memory houses a fairly large collection of meaningful moments, nice memories, special experiences, highlights . . .
December 3rd, 2020 will not be one of them.