Of the many ways we have had the pleasure of witnessing the grace and aplomb of our teachers this year, their mettle was fully tested when the Waldorf School at Moraine Farm went abruptly to remote learning in March.
None of us knew what to expect, including our dear teachers. Just a week beforehand we sat in the great hall during our last all community meeting surmising about the impact the virus might have. It seems surreal to recall a time when we could sit in one room together and actually see each other’s faces. We were stunned into the strangest era most of us have experienced as we isolated ourselves from just about everyone.
Let’s not forget that we are all still here. We are only apart by miles. Our day to day eases and struggles are shared and they are real. It has been, at its core, disorienting and sad. When we go to school to pick up our children’s assignment packets, the quiet is filled with our voices. We can imagine the doors opening and children steering themselves, headlong into the sunshine. We remember the dyed silks patiently waving on a drying rack and the gardens accumulating beloved sticks from an early childhood walk.
Through all of these images, there are teachers who accompany our children and guide them to learn. Those teachers, torn just as abruptly as the rest of us from this daily rhythm, were unflappable. They took a deep breath, set up a corner of their homes to use for zoom meetings and packaged their teaching to send to us, their proxies, in homes from the north shore to Boston. They taught us how to deliver their promises to our children. They delivered love through varied and heartfelt means.
And we want to thank them.
Our idea to thank our teachers is to make wish flags for them and hang them up at school.
To best appreciate the historical legacy of this gesture let’s take a brief journey back in time.
Approximately a decade ago (10 years in April 2021) the Cape Ann Waldorf School packed up and moved from Hale Street to Moraine Farm. In an effort to bring closure to our tenure there and to bring hope to our new home, we made wish flags that were hung at both our old school and at our new home. The wish flags bore gratitude for the memories at Hale Street and offered hopes and dreams for our new chapter at Moraine Farm. The flags were meant to wave in the wind until they disintegrated, rejoining the cycle of nature around them. They faded and they quietly observed our beautiful dance as we found our roots and carried on learning. We were living through a transition back then and we are living through a transition now.
In the spirit of that unity, let’s find our gratitude for our teachers and once again, decorate our school with rows of wishes and thanks in the form of wish flags.
Over the last couple of weeks of school, we will supply flags in the Trayes room so you can take them home and decorate them and then return them to school. Each class will receive more pointed detail from their class parents. Questions can also be directed to the WCA.
So watch for email communication from your class parent and watch the newsletter for reminders that the flags are ready to be picked up, decorated, and returned to school to be displayed alongside the other flags.
In that way the flags truly represent us. We may seem to be apart but we are still one big community. We are all invited to come and enjoy the flags as they are displayed from mid-June and well into the summer.
Let the flags be the little voices we still hear on the playground and the lines of a play recited by middle schoolers, the songs of string instruments, and the parents greeting each other, exchanging ideas and friendship. Let our praise for our dedicated teachers be a gift to them and a reminder to us that such a special school does not exist without the hearts, heads, and hands of all of us.
We promised there would be an opportunity to congratulate our eighth-grade graduates. They will have their own string of wish flags at school. We are all invited to take an extra flag to fill out for our graduating students. Write to one of them or write to all of them. Write to the teacher. Let them know that we honor the years they have spent in a school imagined and built by parents and teachers just like us and made whole by students just like them.
The Essex County Greenbelt has set up a camera to view the Osprey nest in the salt marsh outside the LobstaLand Restaurant in Gloucester. There are two ospreys living there (names Annie and Squam) and more osprey on the way! Watch the progression of their daily life and the hatching of the young at Osprey Cam.
Send us your updates and your photos!
There is still time to tell us about your family’s newfound patterns of life. Send a couple of paragraphs to us and tell us what you have been doing to pass the time. What has surprised you and what has challenged you. And include photos. We miss you and would love to hear what you’ve been up to.
Send entries to email@example.com and we will share them here.
Our next book is called Cutting Stone by Abraham Verghese. Next Zoom gathering TBA. Let us know you want to join the discussion by writing to Deann Reyes-Wangh at firstname.lastname@example.org