Slightly over a quarter of a score ago, I gave birth to JL, now a handy crew member. Today we celebrated his sixth consecutive rotation around the sun, and as a result, little was accomplished on USS Homefront. Also, although rats are generally considered to be vermin on ships, we decided to let JL keep one as a pet. His name is either Hammy, Climber, Black Ninja, Dark Scorpion, or DJ, “ ‘cause he’s ROCKIN’ “.
I did still have to man my virtual ship, as of yet unnamed. Smooth seas today.
Now that we are beginning to establish a rhythm with all the ships and crews and such, I figured I should detail a schedule for posterity.
Shower Crew eats breakfast Captain skips breakfast and posts assignments for virtual crew Crew begins morning school assignments Captain holds virtual meeting and instruction for virtual crew MT works independently while captain interacts with virtual crew Lunch – Captain makes lunch for crew and 50/50 chance captain skips lunch Captain holds virtual meeting and instruction for virtual crew (Spanish) Crew alternates working on more school Captain continues interacting with virtual crew Captain gets headache from forgetting to eat Dinner Captain continues with virtual crew Crew alternates finishing up work Captain retires to watch a show before bed Wash – Rinse – repeat
Today I made checklists thinking they would help. I was mistaken. Now, my chaos is organized, and my suspicions are confirmed: there really IS a lot to do.
None of the crew cried today. The captain felt overwhelmed a total of 87 times. Everyone is still alive.
On the virtual ship today, there was a problem with an assigned task. I asked crew to attach a document to something that documents cannot be attached to. Luckily, the crew noted the problem early on and the problem was mitigated. Seas were generally calm, eerily so. Is it possible we are finding a rhythm? This remains to be seen.
On the actual ship, in an effort to pilot two other virtual ships, crew alternated receiving education from me. I think our close relationship raises tension since each episode usually culminates in some type of crying or general frustration on the part of the crew member.
As an example, the youngest crew member was asked to pick a word that is synonymous with “stinky”. Options were “smelly” or “tasty”. Crying ensued. Why you ask? Because the answer is “smelly” and “I don’t know which one to circle!!!!” Circle “smelly”. But which one do I circle? Smelly. Tears. So many tears. The coast guard called to see if we were intentionally driving a ship in circles or if we were in distress. Distress. We were certainly in distress. We abandoned ship and will probably reluctantly return in the morrow.
Back on the actual ship, hereby dubbed USS Homefront, co-captain Bobby went ashore for takeout. The idea behind this strategy was efficiency. Saving time = less stress = more time at the helm. I do have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed the sustenance though it saved no time. (It did, however, save dishes). In the 40 minutes it took to go ashore, we could have cooked. Oh well. None of this is efficient anyway 🤷🏻♀️.
For diversion, Bobby and I have found entertainment in a show about Tigers and Monarchy and Deceit. When I’m tempted to believe our ship is in peril, I can just remember the Tiger King and be glad I’m not on that ship. #grateful
I am now piloting four ships: my virtual ship (my classes), crew ~100; my actual ship (home), crew ~2, plus co-captain Bobby and several animals in cargo; and two newly added ships of distance learning for MT and JL. The four ships are going in opposite directions, and I have one appendage strapped to the steering mechanism of each one. If you are picturing a medieval torture device, congratulations, you have successfully mastered whatever state standard it is when you can visualize images from reading! I hereby award you a gold star.
We began the day with packet pickup for the crew as they begin their distance learning. It was an emotional experience to drive up to the school and drive away with only a packet of papers.
Upon our return to the ship￼, I became overwhelmed with panic and anxiety. Images of packets haunted my thoughts while I took the helm of my virtual ship.
The sea witches left me alone after a time, and I was able to begin to process the packets and figure out how to navigate 4 ships simultaneously with moderate success.
The crew found recreation in building pretend fortified spaces from bedding. This skill may come in handy should we have to defend ourselves in the coming days of plague.
On the virtual ship today the crew tackled their first discussion board. There were minor bumps, but we fared well. I am impressed by how resilient these kids have been and how honest they’ve been about their struggles, questions, and fears. They have adjusted, but I asked today how they FELT for their discussion post. You can tell that some of the students are rolling with the changes, others are full of anxiety. They want to do well. How does this work? When will we go back? Will we go back? What if…? People have talked about all the adjusting teachers, I mean… Captains, have done, but we can’t forget how much the kids have been through. I’m a decent captain, but this crew of mine is strong.
On my actual ship, the crew spent a good deal of the day planning a camp out on the deck (living room floor). Reserves of vegetables and meat in the galley are high, but we were into emergency rations of snacks. I manned a solo expedition to the shores of a local Walmart. I genuinely feared for my life, since a plague is circulating now. I survived the trip, but the number of sick and dead rise daily. The crew are confined to the ship for their own safety.
Today we faced our first challenge on the virtual ship: opening a google doc. I know it sounds simple enough, but imagine you are stranded on a desert island with only an internet connection. After many, many emails and text messages and assignment comments and some screaming into local pillows, all of the crew is alive, and most of the docs were opened and submitted. The virtual ship took on some water, but we pulled through.
On my actual ship (home), the crew completed some learning activities, had recess, enjoyed screen time, and ate an unprecedented number of snacks. They did do some light cleaning. No crew were grounded; they are alive, and we only had a few moments of despair.
Today captains were permitted to return briefly to their abandoned ships to collect necessary items and prepare materials for crew (students) without Internet.
It was an emotional experience for me. I have been doing ok with the changes, but seeing my empty classroom ahem, ship, broke my heart. I genuinely miss my students, and I miss teaching them in person.
Today, we forge a new path on the seas of the Interwebs. To be fair, there were already ocean analogies for the web, so the captain’s log remains fitting. I’m off to my virtual ship.