My heart felt conflicted as I grabbed my computer on Saturday morning. There was just one more task I had to complete. One more and and my summer break officially would begin. A feeling of relief came over me as the thought of distance learning ending, followed be a feeling of dread. I know my students would no longer be popping up on my computer screen filling my head with their questions and filling my ears with their stories and thoughts.
I slowly opened my computer and I stared at the screen. I longed for my students faces to appear. Over the past three months the only time I truly felt like a teacher was when my screen was filled with numerous squares that had children’s faces in them so that I could exchange ideas with my students. We talked about books, their writing, their pets and current events. I often left those virtual meetings feeling lighter and our conversations gave me purpose.
I began to open my Google Classroom and I scrolled through my list of students. I took a moment to read each of their names. Usually on the last day of school when I enter my classroom after the students leave for the summer, the silence that greets me is deafening. I have been teaching almost 20 years and it always takes me by surprise. However, this year I ran my eyes down a list of names and emails knowing I have to be the one to delete them from my Google Classroom. My last lifeline to my students this year-the thing that held us together when we could not be physically together.
I sat there for awhile not wanting to be the one to exit them from me this way. I rationalized that they are my students forever, even though I would not be their teacher next year. This thought did not comfort me. I moved my mouse to the button that read ‘remove.’ Then in one click they were gone…but not forgotten.