Lots of Transitions

“Are the rumors true?” a friend asked me at church on Sunday.  I started to say, “Yes, they’re true” … but then it occurred to me that I ought to ask which rumors she was talking about.  It turned out that some were true (yes, I have left the Former Job at Former School), and some aren’t true yet (someone had decided I was definitely moving out of town quite soon).

“Why did you have to leave?” asked B and F and N, who all attend Former School … but only N is a Latin Family member.  We talked about opportunities and about knowing when the time is right, and that all made sense to them.  “Be kind and supportive to the Latin Family there,” I asked them, during the time of transitions.  Lots of transitions.  And they all said they would.

“I completely understand,” wrote my old friend F, whose older son just finished his time in the Latin Family and whose younger son is still there.  I’d been worried about B; he’s a quiet, quiet person, and when he’s under stress and sadness, he gets even quieter.  But I’m sure Ms. N is working to support him, and so are his classmates, and so is the rest of the family.

Lots of transitions.  Lots and lots.

After my quiet, peaceful Monday morning, we continued to have a joyful time with the District Y Latin Family.  The beginners reviewed and consolidated the “Prima Verba Latina” we’d learned on Friday, and then we read the first Fabella in Tres Columnae Lectiō Prīma and the first few pages of the second one.  The advanced group, who didn’t meet on Friday, made their Cumulative Vocabulary Review Task document together, and then we read the first few pages of the “bridge story” that introduces us to the primary Tres Columnae Project characters as we know them at the end of Lectiō XIV.  The Dog, delighted by his new daily schedule, slept contentedly at my feet or by my side as I worked with the Latin Family from afar … and then, a few hours later, it was time for the first Book Group meeting of the year.

We decided on this book, which seems deeply appropriate right now.  When you’re in the midst of lots of transitionslistening is more important than ever.

This morning the District Q branch of the Latin Family made an Enormous Timeline of Roman history together, using a Google Drive document instead of the physical paper that previous Latin Family members might remember.  Everyone chose a “virtual page,” which represented a particular Emperor or time period, and they used a collection of links I’d made as well as other historical information they knew.  And then, with the broader context of Roman history in mind, we, too, finished our time together with some reading of that “bridge” story.

Even through the microphone and speakers, you could feel community re-forming and anxiety decreasing.  If all goes as planned, the Enormous Timeline and some reading will happen with the intermediate District Y group this afternoon, and the beginners will consolidate the vocabulary they’ve learned, notice officially that Latin words have different forms and endings sometimes, and continue our reading of the Lectiō Prīma stories.

In the next day or so, we should be ready to start thinking about creating our own characters (for the intermediate and advanced groups) and Roman families (for the beginners).  And we’ll take time to reassure everybody about “how tests and quizzes will work,” which is an understandable concern for many of us.  And the Gifted Homeschoolers group?  We’ll be finishing the Lectiō Prīma stories today, and we’ll probably begin designing our own Roman families, too, aiming to present those to each other next Tuesday.

A busy, but joyful day … and a day with lots of transitions.

But it was also a day with some sad news.  Latin Family alumni shared news of the death of a former colleague, and then I got an email confirming it.  Ms. E had “retired” quite a few years ago, but she continued to teach part-time until quite recently.  Her health had been fairly good, but then, in full retirement, it started to decline.  No one was expecting her to die so suddenly, but she did.  And now hearts are heavy at the Former School, and Many A Ms. X and Mr. Y is doubtless wrestling with personal grief and students’ reactions and covering the curriculum and keeping things normal and all the other factors that teachers wrestle with at times like that.

It’s hard and painful … and if it had happened a year ago, I’d be so caught up in the factors and the wrestling that I’m not sure how I’d respond.  As it is, I gave The Dog some extra attention, said an extra prayer or two for everyone, and remembered the great conversations Ms. E and I had over the years.  “She was tough,” Many A Student told me, “but you could tell that she really cared.”  Others had trouble seeing the care through the toughness, of course.

“Are the rumors true?” I wondered when I saw the first Facebook mention of Ms. E’s death.  “And how did K, away at college, find out before I did?”  But networks are powerful, and so are communities … and K and her friends had built an especially powerful community and network.  Ms. E, for all her appearance of toughness, valued networks and communities and family tremendously, and I’m glad that the network and community of her former students and colleagues rallied around each other to spread the word, to support each other, and to share their smiles and tears.  On this busy Tuesday, with lots of transitions for everyone, I wonder what other examples of the power of networks and communities we’ll all encounter!

Published in: on September 9, 2014 at 2:48 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. I interviewed Mark Nepo for a newsletter I used to edit. A very generous man.

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