March 13th

Friday the 13th of March, 2020, when school dismissed,
we had no idea we wouldn’t be returning.

Not to the building.

Not to life as we knew it.

Not to teaching as we knew it.

We left mountains of work undone behind us.

We faced mountains looming before us, the likes of which we’d never seen.

A mountain of my masks

In the maelstrom of so much change, we learned.

We learned we could.

We learned that some things, the important things,
never change.

Message from a student on my link

Saturday the 13th of March, 2021: Most of us have had our first vaccination and are getting the second.

We are preparing for all students to return to campus
on Monday,
except the children of parents who have opted
to keep them virtual until June.

Last March 13th, we thought it would only be for a week.
Maybe two.

It’s been exactly one year.

Today, March 13th, let us celebrate:

We did enough.

We had enough.

We were enough.

We are enough.

It is enough, knowing our why.

The children. Always our why.

Just sayin’. This was shared via text among my colleagues.


The annual Slice of Life Story Challenge with Two Writing Teachers is underway, meaning that I am posting every day in the month of March. This marks my fifth consecutive year and I’m experimenting with an abecedarian approach: On Day 13, I am writing around a word beginning with letter m. Just so happens to coincide with the anniversary.

34 thoughts on “March 13th

  1. Wow, Fran, your slice is powerful, moving and I love it. I love how you began with last March 13 building a concrete mountain with your words and coming full circle to this March 13. My favorite sentences are:
    ‘The children. Always our why.’ the ‘I love you’ from your student and every sentence that has ‘enough’ in it. I absolutely agree and all teachers need to celebrate. I happy for you that most of your colleagues have had the first vaccine and are getting the second one, too. Since I am not actively teaching right now I wasn’t able to get the vaccination. However, recently NYS came up with a list of medical reasons for eligibilities and I had my first vaccine this past Sunday. I’m also happy for you that most of your students are coming back. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s nothing short of a miracle what teachers have continued to do through all of this. So often people focus on what has been lost, on the deficit, but my goodness, what we’ve seen, what we’ve overcome, how we’ve persevered. It’s amazing and a testament to grit, determination, and faith. Here’s to the next chapter.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Susan, can you hear me cheering at your words? I have never been one to operate from the deficit model although it seems deeply entrenched in the educational world. What’s been accomplished IS extraordinary. I am reminded of wartime stories, when everyone pulled together to do what needed to be done. Different battle, but with the same collective grit and eye of faith, for the sake of all. Here’s to the next chapter, indeed.


  4. Your words captured the sentiment of so many of us – dare I say all of us as teachers. This year has been one we want to forget yet we need to learn from. We’ve discovered so much about ourselves and our learners, and I hope and pray that the lessons learned will be considered as we move ahead. Our work to teach with equity and fairness needs to continue. After all, it is all about our kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is a powerful slice, full of emotion. You take the tone from what we didn’t know in the early days, to trying a number of things, to the hope the present contains. Separately, the last image your colleagues texted reminds me of my teacher friends. There is SO much in our group text thread of professional and personal lives and just like that image says, “realized she wasn’t alone” became so important to surviving this last year!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Love! I love the whole thing but the very last part about how we did enough and it was enough and then the quote was so funny and spot on. I can’t believe it’s been a year!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. “The children, always our why”. reminds me of a Jason Reynolds quote. He said that we needed to teach with gratitude (not preaching gratitude to our students, but with gratitude for having children to teach), because without children, none of us (teachers or parents) really have a purpose. So, yes, they are our why. I love this poem for many lines, but that caption captures so much.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Jess. We’ve rotated through a couple of models since August; younger students coming back and older ones in three cohorts, rotating on one week and off two, with teachers providing online and on-campus instruction at the same time. We went back to all online when cases spiked so dramatically. Finally k-3 came back and the rotating 4-5 cohorts again, and as of Monday, those cohorts disband and we have 4-5 all together for the first time (except those who remain virtual by parent request. We have teachers teaching solely online for these – not hybrid). In short – so complicated, all around. But it’s beginning to feel like moving forward, at last.


      • Oh wow! That’s a lot on everyone. My sister lives in NC and they’ve been fully remote all year. They also go back Monday…not fully. So many shifts and transitions. Hopefully things will start to feel more settled soon.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. You’ve done an amazing job of expressing so much within these lines. One of the things that hits me the strongest is that tension between all of those things that will never be the same, and all of the things that have proven to be steadfast and unchanging. We’ve discovered so much of both over the last year. And your “enough” message? I need to read and hear that. Often.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I know how so many of us were wearing ourselves into a state beyond exhaustion, all things considered… but coming to terms with ‘I’ve done the best I can and it is enough’ is possibly a lifesaving mindset, truly. We cannot do more. Many thanks for your words, Lainie.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. “I am enough ” is one of my morning affirmations. That and the giving and receiving of grace is what has kept me afloat this past year. And what a year it has been! I am also grateful for our Slicing community, both the March SOLSC of 2020 and the Tuesday Slicers after; writing and reading those COVID diary entries kept me going, too. Thanks for being a part of this circle, Fran.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It has been an extraordinary year, particularly in your country and life will never be quite the same again. Your slice captures that skilfully as you circumnavigate so many problems, difficulties and hardships, especially faced by teachers and students. Great slice of experience!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Many thanks for these thoughts – I expected there’d be lots of commemorations and what more could I even add to all that will be said, but I still felt I should write to it. Such an extraordinary year, indeed.


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