STEM Education Poetry

Remote Possibilities

“Working through past few weeks, most confounding;  
Wand’ring lonely in quiet, surrounding: 
To my classrooms– remote now–
Resolutely, I’ll note how
Spring’s hope, still, is eternally sounding.” 

On 26 March 2020, I posted the first Twitter poem reacting to what had been, since its second week, a thoroughly discombobulating month!  This limerick summed up some major changes in my teaching and non-teaching times, as my chemistry classes moved online during the COVID-19 pandemic.    

“Working through past few weeks, most confounding; /
Wand’ring lonely in quiet, surrounding…”
It is difficult to remember how strange that initial shift in Spring 2020 seemed.  New data and best practices were emerging every day, if not every hour.  Moving to fully online courses, when I’d previously used our classroom management system primarily to store files, was “most confounding.”  One useful routine was an early-morning walk; borrowing a turn of phrase from Wordsworth and “wan’dring lonely” along the path near my home, I had time to gather my thoughts before teaching and meetings. 

“To my classrooms– remote now– /
Resolutely, I’ll note how /
Spring’s hope, still, is eternally sounding.”  
By late March, my students and I were adjusting to our remote set-up, which would take us through late April and the end of the spring term.  I was glad to have the opportunity to speak synchronously (in real time) to some of my classes; this note of normalcy was welcome.  Another silver lining was the arrival of many typical signs of spring in the midst of these challenges and uncertainties.  Seeing flowers, birds, and blue skies provided much hope, “eternally sounding,” in an uncertain time.  

The first part of this poem echoed William Wordsworth; the second echoed Alexander Pope;  both were acknowledged in the hashtags.  While it seemed trivial to mark the occasion with a Twitter poem then, I’m glad to revisit the verse now.  Moreover, writing this particular poem helped convince me to repeat the previous April’s effort of NaPoWriMo, starting a few days later.  Much like my morning walks, the writing routine would provide some much-needed structure.