My Slice of Life is Getting Thinner

Today’s Slice of Life at

Today was our second day of mask-to-mask school.

I was surprised anyone came back, really. I thought maybe they would be conveniently absent or beg to switch to online school, where the faces and voices are clearer.

Because they came, I had a better day. Maybe their being present helped me speak more slowly, loudly, articulately,  and with more purpose. And to work harder to hear them and listen to them fully.

Today was also the first Tuesday in six months that I forgot to do my Slice of Life post. I woke up Wednesday morning, still late Tuesday night in the U.S., and made this post my first priority. I won’t give up my pandemic priorities of living and being more than a school teacher.

So I got up to write this tiny sliver of my life on Tuesday, 8 September 2020.

The Isolation Journals

Today is day 194 in Bahrain’s Covid-19 chapter. Cases are going up, but restaurants have opened and in-person school began on Sunday for a few students who signed up for the blended-learning option. It is Prompt 108 in The Isolation Journals with Suleika Jaouad. Ash Parsons has shared a prompt today to write words to describe ten mental images from the last 24 hours.

A little girl had her mask on backwards, with the blue side inside. “Is your mask on the right way?” I asked. “Yes,” she told me. “OK, that’s good–as long as we keep the germs on the outside, that’s the important part.” What else to say?

Looking at my schedule for perhaps the tenth time this weekend. On my first day of school: “What do you think about that extra English class on Tuesdays?” I asked a colleague. “What extra English class?” We compared schedules. One of us has the wrong one again.

Later in the day we got a message, “Check your schedules; they changed again.”

Yes, two English classes on Tuesdays, but not on the virtual classes. So now the students who are coming to school have 2.5 hours of English a week. The online students have 70 minutes of English. That doesn’t seem equitable, does it.

Am I seeing anything these days that is not related to school and the stress of teaching in this crazy pandemic?

Build Back Better

This week’s Slice of Life at
We fixed the broken community metaphor from last week.

Take care of your feelings and build
an unforgettable school year. We are back
and even when it doesn’t feel like it, things will get better.

I wrote a Golden Shovel poem for today. It’s when you use the words from a quote, a short verse, or a line from a poem to begin or end each line. “Build back better” is one of Biden’s slogans. It was mentioned a lot at the Democratic convention. I am confident we will build our schools, health care and economic systems–and yes, our whole country–back better. (By the way, are you registered to vote?)

Today we met the students on Zoom. Every single one of the grade 5 students came with enthusiasm and joy at being in school again. It gave us hope and made us all smile! (And all the unanswered questions could be forgotten for a short time.)

A couple more first week pics.

Ten students in grade 5 will come for blended learning.
A lovely activity we did with our department. “What are your expectations of each other on this team?”