2020 is proving to be a year where you cannot predict what will come next let alone prepare for the future. The goalposts keep moving as the world writhes under normal events, a pandemic, and a racial debate that’s long overdue.
While Deb and I have been sheltering in place, being as cautious as we can without totally isolating ourselves from mankind, we know changes are coming in how we will live, shop, recreate, and interact with friends and family.
On Monday, I met with my principal and was invited to return to St. Vincent Pallotti High School for my fourth year as a teacher. As I signed the contract, I had no idea what my course load would be or how I was to teach. As our county entered Phase II, things were reopening, including allowing student athletes to work out together. That was an optimistic sign, but there was no guarantee we’d be fully back in the building or the fall sports season was on. The administration was looking at three different scenarios with the goal of teachers and students safely being back in the building on August 25.
An option that seemed most likely was going to a block schedule, teaching fewer subjects during longer class periods per day, alternating A and B days. I’d taught block scheduling at Owings Mills and grew to like it, but it also meant, I needed to begin retooling my existing plans for the lengthier sessions. The rhythm of the period changes when you double it and need to keep mixing things up so the students don’t tune out or get overly fidgety. On the one hand, we are totally revamping Intro to Lit and changing up American Lit so we had work to do this summer anyway, now it’s different work.
At the home office, I got word that the sixth and final volume of Chartwell Books’ 100 Greatest Moments series has been delayed a year, from 2021 to 2022. Apparently, different segments of publishing have been hit hard with customers unable to browse bookshops and the buying staff at chains aren’t fully operational. My Flash volume, due out about now, got bumped to fall, which is fine. So, as Chartwell adjusts, so must I.
I’m hard at work at a novel on a tight deadline (more on that when allowed) but there is now a weight lifted as the next project has been bumped. I can focus instead on polishing, writing two short stories I agreed to, and then dive into lesson planning. Nature does abhor its vacuums, something addressed in the novel, as a matter of fact.
At home, we have also been making adjustments as we welcomed Albert to our family. We’d been talking about adding a second dog to keep Harley company, with the hope he would be calmer with a companion and a little less neurotic. After months of searching and a few false starts, we rescued our 10-year-old Miniature Pinscher on Saturday and so far, he too has been adjusting.
In great ways and small ones, this has been a year of adjustments and for me, someone who is a planner, I am being forced to learn to live with change without complaint.