“She’s here,” the voices chime in unison
“Hi guys! It’s so good to see you.” I scan my screen trying to see their faces.
Four of them. I logged in ten minutes early knowing some would be there early. And there they were. In their bedrooms. In their basements. Bouncing on their beds.
As each new face or name popped up on the screen, a cry out of the new child’s name.
The joy across their faces. The excitement in their voices. The movement in their bodies.
“Oh my gosh, we are all here!” someone calls out.
“Wait, how are we 22?”
“Is everyone really here?”
“I can’t see everyone.”
At this point, I decide to take over.
“Boys and girls, do me a favor… mute your mics.”
The quiet begins. Slowly they appear in the sidebar, but I can’t see them all.
I proceed to explain to them the features of the app and how we will be using it to meet and have conversations. I jump right into our morning meeting format to see if we can get everyone talking AND to see everyone’s faces.
“Tell me what has been the best part of being home,” I ask, “Let’s start with #1… E- go!”
They respond slowly, but they start to get the hang of it.
“OK, now tell me what you think about the work. Let’s start with #20.”
We continue with questions and then I let them ‘unmute’. The chaos ensues, but much more controlled. Pets are put on to the screen. Tours of bedrooms and basements and kitchens. Parents jump in to the screens. Siblings are heard crying.
“How long have we been on?” L asks. I glance at my time stamp.
“55 minutes,” I answer.
“Wow, that’s long.” They are tired, but a good kind of tired.
“Ok my friends, we are going to wrap it up for today,” I say and wait for responses.
“When will we do it again?”
“Can we do this tomorrow?”
“I want to go back to school!”
I calmly respond, “I promise we will do it again soon. Stay tuned to our Google Classroom for more info. Now everyone take a turn to say goodbye.”
They slowly say goodbye. 22-18-14-10-6-3.
“Mrs. Bruno, I don’t know how to sign out?”
“T, look at the bottom of your screen and there is a phone to click on.”
“Oh, there it is. I miss you,”
“Oh I miss you too, T. It will be ok, I promise.” I say, unsure of my words.
“Ok, I can’t wait to do this again.”
“Me too. I promise we will do it again soon,” sure of my words.
Two of us left.
“G, you’re still here,”
“Yup… I wanted to be last,” she answers.
“Well, I’m happy you are last. How are you doing?”
“I’m good. I miss you. I miss school. This isn’t fun.” she states simply.
“I know it’s not, but I really liked seeing all of you.”
“Yeah, THIS was fun. I will see you soon?” she asks.
“Yes, you will. I will see you real soon,” I answer knowing that I will see her. Not in the way I wish I could, but in the way we can right now.