From Endurance to Dressage
On Monday, I was tasked with the job of closing down my classroom for the rest of the year. The governor had already said we were done for the year, and my district's superintendent had said we were finished, but until things were actually dismantled, there was still a chance we'd go back.
Since we're still concerned with social distancing, closing down our classrooms took two weeks. One fourth of the staff came last Monday and Tuesday while another quarter went last Wednesday and Thursday. A handful of other teachers and myself cleaned up our rooms on Monday and Tuesday while the final quarter of the staff had yesterday and today to pack up everything.
Our primary task was to gather and bag all student belongings so that the kids can pick everything up one day next week. I've never before cleaned my room by myself. It's actually a task I love to do in the final weeks of school because my kiddos and I do it together, planning for next year as w go. It's a job they love. Tossing out the old and worn is very cathartic and gives the kids a sense of closure. They also love to clean up the reusables, like scissors and caddies, in preparation for the class coming up behind them. It gives the kids a sense of power and responsibility.
I always select and then train my most responsible kids for a long list of jobs. Some kids are in charge of stripping the bulletin boards while others reorganize the cupboards. My most responsible kids get to clean out my desk and teacher supplies. Once trained, I let my little managers select their own "staff" who they then direct to complete whichever tasks they want to delegate.
While I love the "free labor," what I most enjoy about it is how careful and industrious the kids are. They love stripping down the room, and they do a really good job - better than the job I did. I just tossed stuff in the cupboards without my usual process of evaluating its condition for future use. The truth is, my heart just wasn't in it.
We worked so hard this year only to have the carpet yanked out from under our feet. In January/February, my district was brutally hit with a ransomware attack. For nearly a month we were without internet, laptops, or technology of any kind. Just about the time we found ourselves recovering from that, COVID-19 reared its ugly head. After all of our hard work, we never got to complete state testing. I was really looking forward to seeing how much my kiddos had learned this year. Now, all of our work feels as though it were for nought.
It's frustrating because the fourth quarter is when we get to celebrate after working so hard. We do state reports which include oral reports and building state floats out of shoeboxes for our "stately parade," a fifth grade tradition. We won't get to play in our fifth grade softball tournament, another tradition the kids look forward to. We're going to miss out on Game Day and our Chip Chow Down, one of my all time favorite days. Every student brings a family-sized bag of chips and we CHOW DOWN while playing Hedbanz, Clue, and other board games. There's nothing like wearing a whale on your forehead as you plunge your arm into a massive bag of Lay's potato chips.
We're also missing Open House, an evening where families come and see all of the projects their kids have worked on all year. Our carnival was also cancelled as was Battle of the Books, a county-wide competition that my team was really looking forward to. All in all, it just sucks. Yes, we're still "Distance Learning" while having Zoom meetings and working on things in the Google Classroom, but it's not even remotely as rewarding as finishing the year with friends and favorite teachers.
When my kiddos come to pick up their stuff next week, I won't even be able to hug them and wish them a happy summer. I'll wave from behind my barricade and smile under my face mask. If I am this disappointed, how must they feel?
I sure hope all of this was worth it.
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at the lower levels. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2023 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
2023 Show Schedule
2023 Completed …
2023 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
Qualifying Training Level
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%: