As I write this, we are under a heat advisory here in St. Louis. Nothing new. It’s so crazy that the Midwest can have some of the coldest temperatures in the winter and then turn around and have some of the hottest temps in the summer. That’s why I prefer spring or autumn. Excessive heat makes things so uncomfortable and makes life miserable. But 70 degrees, a blue sky, and a bright sun equal my weather utopia. 

August 1st marks the end of summer. Not the end of the official summer season, but winding down the end of summer break and quickly inching closer to the beginning of school. This school year is going to be somewhat different for me, considering I spent the entire last school year teaching from my couch in our family room. So going back into the classroom is going to feel a little foreign. I’m sure I will adjust quite well seeing that I spent thirteen years teaching in the classroom and just one year teaching virtually.

And considering how Covid is trying to make a strong comeback after many weeks of declining numbers, being in the classroom will probably mean a continuation of wearing masks and social distancing to the best of our abilities. So the new abnormal shall continue and it’s our current reality. It’s real, it’s horrible, and it’s where we are.

So teaching and encouraging 7th graders on reading and writing will mean using unique strategies. The hands-on approach may call for a screen-on approach. Typing instead of writing. Conferring through written comments and edit suggestions. Verbal discussions about books may become written discussions about students’ favorite stories. Those things aren’t all bad, but having that personal touch to discussions is an exciting and profound way of examining writing and reading. Hopefully, we will get opportunities to have these discussions.

Maybe we will get opportunities to discuss My Invisible Father. Possibly some of my students will have or will read the book. I would be interested in hearing their thoughts. But at the same time, that’s a bit vulnerable. I’m sure some may not like the book for one reason or another, just as sure as some may utterly enjoy it. Just like the weather, people will either be super hot or super cold in their critique, but I could use a different type of critique; one that is not excessive, uncomfortable, or miserable.

One like 70 degrees, blue sky, and a bright sun.   

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