It was only the beginning of second period, but all of us were already over this day. Before classes had even started, a few teachers had received an email threatening a school shooting. The actual threat level seemed low, but just in case, the police had been called, the doors locked, a “shelter in place” instituted. Then, the internet went out. And it was Friday. We wondered if the universe was laughing at us: “Good luck at school today,” it snickered.
The grade 12 students were unimpressed. Someone had flicked off the lights as they entered the room – “Hope that’s ok, Miss” – and most people were slumped, exhausted, onto the tables. So much for any lessons I had planned. On the other hand, thanks to the power of routine, almost everyone had a book out.
“I have an idea. You read, I’ll plan something that makes some sort of sense.”
“I can set my watch for 15 minutes,” one student volunteered.
“Miss, can it be 20? Please? I mean, the internet is down and…”
I looked around the room. Heads were nodding. “20 it is,” I declared.
They read; I planned. Then I read, too. 20 minutes passed. C’s watch beeped. An impassioned “NO!” slipped out of a student as she turned a page. “I’m so close to the end of the chapter!”
“Me, too!” “Yes!” “Please, just a few more minutes…”
Of course I said yes. And we all read just a little bit more. And our Friday was just a little bit better. Not perfect, but better.