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 calledEvery Storm Runs Out of Rain – A People’s Journal of a Pandemicand 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.
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
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!
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:
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
……………….MAY THE 4TH BE WITH
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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