Thursday, March 25, 2021

The Haystack

One of my homeroom students started in person today. Because he was a few weeks behind the kids who had attended already, his mom contacted me yesterday to go over the routine and also to report that he was a little nervous. Understandably so! Our sixth graders have never even been in the building: they have no frame of reference for even the most explicit directions.

"No worries," I told her, "I'll head down to the gym in the morning and bring him upstairs to show him around." 

It was a good plan until I entered the cavernous field house attached to our school. A couple hundred or so masked kids sat on the cross points of a six-foot grid. Many had their hoods up; most were looking straight down at their devices. I scanned the group and considered my options. Short of shouting his name, all I could do was walk up and down the rows peering intently at every student. When at last I was saved by the bell, a figure just ahead of me stood up. "Here I am!" he said cheerfully.

"You are so tall!" I told him. "The camera doesn't show that!"

Later in the day, I found out that yet another of my homeroom kids would be starting tomorrow. "Where do I go?" she asked anxiously.

"I'll come downstairs to find you," I promised, but then looked at the guy I had fetched this morning. "But if you see me before I see you? You better wave!"


  1. I really didn't think you were going to find him as I pictured those masked and hooded youngsters. I love that he shouted, "Here I am!" at you. I guess they can easily identify us, seeing as we're the start of the show every day, whether we like it or not.

  2. I think I would have panicked walking into that room and trying to find your student. It's funny how we get an idea of our students seeing them on camera and then finding out our perceptions weren't quite right. I had a student I didn't recognize at all the first day of in-person instruction. On camera she had seemed big for a 3rd grader, but in person she was actually quite small.

  3. So great he spoke up! And that a precedent is set, so you don't have to weave through that haystack.

  4. Cavernous field house is the perfect description of this particular haystack! How brave of you to make this offer again!