I had a message from O, a new Latin Family member at the Former School. O is a senior, and I’m sure she decided to take Latin, in part, because Good Old Mr. S had “always” been there and would “always” be there. She’s sad, and she wants me to come back, because change can be hard.
My friend who taught in District Q for many years had “always” been there, too, and so had the prior Latin teacher in District Y. Change can be hard, especially when you’re a teenager … or the parent of a teenager. It can be really hard, of course, when it’s not just the teacher who changed, but the whole format of the class: when what was “always” face-to-face, with one teacher and a few dozen students in a room together, suddenly moves online. Of course I’m still face-to-face in important ways with the District Q and District Y Latin Family, but I’m not physically there in the space with them.
Change can be hard … but they’re adapting well. Change can be hard … but Mrs. N tells me that, for the most part, the Latin Family at Former School is adapting well.
Change can be hard … but I seem to be adapting well, too.
Of course there are anxious moments for everyone, especially when the path is new and unfamiliar. “How will assignments work?” asked an anxious parent by email, “and how will students be able to get extra help if they need it?” Students had similar questions, and I’m sure there are questions I’ll have, too, along the way. Some are easy to answer; some require asking a Greater Expert than I; for some, we’ll have to figure out the answers together.
Change can be hard … but sometimes change is important, even vital. Even after just a few days of this Big Change, I’m so much happier, more free, than I’ve been in a very long time. Change can be hard … but in this case, I think the change was essential. I can’t imagine spending my days in That Classroom, in That Building, with the Same Old Same Old and all the other things I blogged about year after year. And the promised changes there, and the threatened changes from Great Powers Indeed, wouldn’t have been enough of a change for me.
I find I love sitting on that comfortable sofa when I teach, headphones on, laptop in lap, The Dog asleep nearby. I love the immediate, real-time feedback I can get from every student in our virtual space … the way that they don’t hide behind silence or compliant-looking smiles, which happens so easily in a physical classroom.
I’m grateful for the change even when the change is hard.
The District Y Latin Family will be answering some Latin questions about the story we’ve been reading these past few days, and then we’ll do some more reading and introduce them to their first-ever Minor Assessment project, the one where they create an original and “authentic” Roman persona or familia and, eventually, an interaction between that new character and an existing Tres Columnae Project character or characters. Change is hard, and I’m sure that a few of us will be longing for the security of the Old Regime, with its pen-and-paper tests and other “traditional” trappings. But even when change is hard, change is important, and I’m excited as I think about the great work they’ll be doing (and sharing) over the next few days.
Change is sometimes hard, and I’m more tired than I’d expected to be as I get into the new rhythm of my new adventure. But with the power of a joyful learning community and the opportunity to build meaningful things together, we’ll make it through the hard changes and establish a joyful new rhythm. I wonder what other insights and discoveries (and changes of different kinds) await in the days and weeks to come!