“Simple Things”

Amanda Armstrong

These last two and a half months have definitely provided me with an opportunity to consider some “simple” things, things that I have taken for granted in the past.

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The above picture was taken March 22nd, the day before virtual learning started.  It was such a beautiful, warm day that my husband, my son, and I went for a ride.  We ended up on a side street in Cornville, Maine, where we stopped and I took this picture of the snow capped mountains to the west.  Seems simple enough, but then I started to think about it, and it is not so simple.  Timing is important…cold enough for snow at the top of the mountains, but warm enough for us to decide to go for a ride.  The atmosphere had to be clear enough for us to see miles and miles away, and then to happen to be traveling down this street?  In Cornville?  How many people travel through Cornville?

On April 7th, I took the picture below of the Pink Supermoon from my back window.  It is a pleasing, simple scene, but different things were happening here.  First, I wasn’t sitting in front of this window waiting for the right moment, for the right angle to catch the reflection on the water; I happened to walk by the window and look out.  Supermoons are also not something that occur frequently, and then there is the whole concept about the moon’s orbit…too far away, the moon would travel off into space, too close, well, let’s not think too much about that…

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On May 13th, we had some blustery conditions, so in between the morning and the afternoon sessions, I went outdoors and flew my kite.  Flying a kite has

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always seemed like it should be easy, but for me, it isn’t that simple, maybe I need lessons.  Even though the wind was pretty strong, there would be a lull and the kite would crash to the ground.  The wind would pick up, and I’m sure that the tail of the kite was not “heavy” enough, and the kite would spin like a top, and crash to the ground.  I didn’t give up, but I was a little frustrated, though I would like to learn how to fly the stunt kites.

So, thinking back to before virtual learning…the simple act of communicating through facial expression…this is something I took for granted.  We can observe someone and quickly determine if this individual is happy, sad, angry, frightened…but how do we actually do this?  This is achieved through the eyes, the mouth, the chin, the eyebrows, just to name a few indicators, and this assessment is often done in a glance.  Having to communicate this trimester with very little face to face time has been very difficult for me.  How can I express excitement using exclamation marks and not have the students think that I am angry?  How can I convey encouragement, and not have them think that I am upset with them?  Thank goodness for emojis!  😅  So, as I think about getting back into the classroom filled with students, I think about how “simple” it will be to communicate with them…a quick smile to encourage 😊, a glance to convey that one’s attention is required 😒, or a big grin to demonstrate fun and/or good humor 😃…instances that seem to be quick and easy, but are not as “simple” as they appear.