A touching testimony from a teacher in isolation. “I was born to help. To create links. I don't live without others. I need the others. My daughters too. The others are us now. To have all his ideas, but to have to wait. I implode in my kitchen. "
The big one had her mouth full of sugar, the little one both hands in flour. The kitchen was a mess. My head too. Crying less loudly than the sound of the mixer was the best option I found.
I wanted to work on fractions in a real context. I had intentions and expectations. Bananas and nuggets.
I found myself doing the dishes alone. But why in my class of 26, did I manage to make a giant Iroquoians soup and I have so many volunteers to wash and dry that I have to dip into it? Is it a well-kept secret after the Caramilk secret or what? I do know, however, why frozen bananas in November 2019 remind me of my tendency to procrastinate. This is obvious.
While the oven was cooking my disappointment, I went to clean my mascara. But why am I wearing makeup to make a damn banana bread? I am in total isolation. Waiting for the COVID-19 test result of the little neighbor I kept on the day of the storm. I look at myself in the mirror. Doubts make you grow old.
I didn't want everything to be perfect. 2019 will have taught me that. I wanted to give what I believed best. I wanted to be that effective parent as Thomas Gordon describes in his book. I wanted to take myself back ...
For the past week, I've been trying to create a safe routine for girls. Choices, freedom, time, pleasure in uncertainty. I wanted to take myself back. That from everything I have given to my students for 20 years, the energy, the sacrifices and the compromises on my family are finally bouncing back.
I wanted to recover by making my kitchen table a headquarters, a giant desk, the window, a painting. I wanted to recreate the class. I wanted to help in my posture as a teacher.
But it's still home, with the cat walking on the table. And I'm still the mom who makes banana bread with non-waterproof mascara.
I am no longer in my class. I will probably not be back there until September. I am experiencing a form of mourning. I had projects for my students that I had been following for 2 years. I should have made this fire in the yard to bake banique bread with the parents. I should have hung them up from the cabins in the woods. The tits know nothing about the pandemic. They are not confined. In my outside class, I was helpful. Not like in my kitchen. I had the feeling of transmitting the desire to learn. It was my biggest mission. Heroic missions fall into the kitchens. Noble projects give way to the dictatorships of screen time management. I feel useless while my boyfriend works in the basement to find solutions for his company. He adapts, collaborates and creates. I admire him. While the girl from the drugstore puts Tylenols on the shelves, the packer packs the family of 5's supper, the woman is testing people in their chariot, and everyone else is working overtime. I admire them. I almost wish the “war measures” would come looking for me to contribute.
I wanted to take myself back…. But I'm missing out on what matters it seems. I would have to deprogram me. Deprogram us. Social pedagogy, what is it without the others. I lost my bearings, my projects. My daughters have also lost their bearings. They must have said goodbye to their dad yesterday, not quite sure when they will see him again. Shared custody is not recommended during a pandemic. Especially when one of the two parents is working. I have never been a stay-at-home mom. I admire them mothers full of hope and strength. My grandmothers. I admire them.
I was born to help. To create links. I don't live without others. I need the others. My daughters too. The others are us now. To have all his ideas, but to have to wait. I implode in my kitchen.
My older one, the one with her mouth full of sugar, emptied a jar to fill it with little notes written on birch bark. First names to pick to render them services, to please them. Its dysorthography is evident on every small bark. And then? She did it for others.
My little one, the one who had both hands in the flour, comes and hugs me from behind and draws a rainbow with It's going to be fine. She places it in the window. For the others.
Banana bread is the fragrance of the house. This house which shelters the doubts, the music, the chicanes of children, the improvised dances, the exploded paint, the kitchen in brothel, the poems at a quarter to midnight, the pencils on the kitchen table, the love that grows rebuilt. The house that is this family landmark. This common cell that was 5 days ago diluted in work and false consumerism for too long.
I wanted to recover. I follow the reflections that call for changes. I am the doubts and the strength. I am the bananas and the nuggets. I am the teacher and the mother. You are those parents who doubt in their kitchen. You think you are alone. You are wrong. We are together in this kitchen. And it is also with you that I would like to share this banana bread even if the bananas are from 2019. When everything is finished, when school will have resumed, when families will have returned to the essentials, when tits will have new huts, which I will feel useful even in a kitchen, we will make a collective banana bread worthy of the Guinness Record. Together. We will contribute. Together. We will recover.