Every Storm Runs Out of Rain – A People’s Journal of a Pandemic

Thursday night, my high school English teacher, David Price, messaged me to get in touch with him about a project he had. He told me about his new blog called Every Storm Runs Out of Rain – A People’s Journal of a Pandemic and he invited me to submit artwork or texts. We spoke about how things were going and about LIS starting up again, partially, on Monday. He thought this would be interesting for his readers. I thought it would be interesting to record the buildup of reopening day and then how it plays out. Below is the text that I sent to David, which he is publishing tomorrow- May the 4th, 2020.

May the 4th be with you…

I remember when I heard this for the first time a few years back, that I was surprised not to have known about Star Wars Day and that I never realized how “May the 4th” sounds like “May the Force”. It seemed so clever and cool. I was excited that I finally had an excuse to wear my Star Wars T-shirts in school- for the entire week since I have a drawer full of them. It also gave a few of my students something to identify me with…

On Monday, May the 4th, 2020, I will return to work at the Leipzig International School in Leipzig, Germany where I have been teaching visual arts to grade 6-12 students for the past 18 years. Grade 9-12 students will be returning to school, with various objectives, after having four weeks of Distance Learning, during which time teachers have been doing their very best to teach, council, and at times entertain their students via the internet. It has not been the easiest for either us teachers or the students. From technical difficulties and the lack of experience with this virtual communication to feeling overwhelmed with too many forms of electronic communication that needs constant attention. Now we are bracing ourselves for the next phase, with its new set of challenges, being tackled for the very first time.

High School students with parental permission and having signed that their children will adhere to all rules and regulations regarding hygiene and distancing in school, and that they are not showing any symptoms of illness, will initially meet outside for a briefing with the Secondary Principal. Form Tutors will accompany students through the designated entrance and escort them to lavatories for supervised hand-washing and sanitation. Then they will move on to their first lessons, line up outside the classrooms, maintaining appropriate distancing, one-by-one students will be permitted in to first wash hands at the sink before sitting in seats appropriately spaced from one another. Masks will be expected to be worn at all times in the school building. Classrooms will be limited to the number of students that adhere to the appropriate distancing plan put into place, meaning that larger classes will be spread over two or maybe three classrooms, where the one teacher will do their best to present the lesson. The sports hall will be hosting the grade 10 end of year exams while the auditorium will be fitted for maximum sized class for teachers to sign-up for as needed.

As required, the school is taking every precaution necessary to meet the ordered state requirements for the partial opening of school. The management team has gone to great lengths to come up with plans, prepare the school, and inform all those involved for the reopening of school on May the 4th. But what about Star Wars Day? One week prior, I ran the idea, about allowing students and staff to celebrate, by our principal.

… the question is whether the gr.9-12 students (and teachers) could come to school in costume (still following set rules of course) on May 4th? I know we need to start off in a serious way as described in the newsletter…. But it would be fun. Plus, wouldn’t it be nicer to say “May the (4th) Force be with You” … rather than “Stay Healthy” for the first day back?

May the Force be with You!

😉Steve

I had already created a Google Classroom that offered a variety of art activities and shared sites that would be interesting for the school community while being confined to their homes. I set up a Star Wars Day Challenge that would encourage participants to submit creative ways of expressing how much of a fan they are and be able to rack up points for their form group to “Win Big”. Would we be able to take this creativity into school on this first day back?

Thank the Maker… The principal responded with a friendly positive email to allow masks and costumes to be worn “… as long as it does not interfere with the set safety/health procedures and learning during lessons”. With pleasure I sent out the following announcement to the staff and students:

Steve Lewis

Tue 5:16 PM

Great news! … “May the 4th be with You” Star Wars Day has been given a green light(saber) from M(aste)r. Allen! So, gr. 9-12 Padawans and their Masters (teachers) who are at LIS may celebrate by wearing a costume or mask… as long as it does not interfere with the set safety/health procedures and learning during lessons. Padawans in grades 6-8 can of course also celebrate at home… as long as it does not interfere with their Distance Learning Lessons (and that they do not use Jedi mind tricks on their teachers). All fans should upload documentation of their creative Star Wars endeavors and antics to the FREE TIME-ART FUN! Star Wars Day Challenge!  

……………….MAY THE 4TH BE WITH YOU!!!

I am not sure how many students or staff may find this amusing and be excited about having a chance to come to school dressed as one of their favorite heroes or villains from a galaxy far, far away, but I know that for evermore I will always remember that during the pandemic in 2020, we were permitted back to school, with all its necessary restrictions and precautions, to begin to attempt coming back to some sense of normalcy, for the good of our students on May the 4th- Star Wars Day.

May the Force be with you… always!

(watch for the sequel)

Steve Lewis is an artist from southern New Jersey who lives and works in Leipzig, Germany.

He paints in his studio while teaching visual arts at the Leipzig International School. See his artwork at www.stevelewisart.com.

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