I Lied in March
“Nothing is ever certain.”
― Alice Sebold
March 2020 started off like every other month of me teaching. I always come 30 minutes earlier than the kids to prepare for the day. I wasn’t watching tv and still don’t watch the television as much. But I had to start because I had a classroom full of inquisitive eight and nine years old who trusted me with their hearts. They assumed I had all the answers to everything.
I greeted them as I normally did and when they sat down for morning meeting the hands began to raise. They asked if they could talk about something that was bothering them. I obliged and then the conversation began………
But before we get to the conversation that led up to me lying in March we will have to talk about how I just finally had their minds at peace about the horrific death of Kobe and Gigi Bryant.
I am in the middle of teaching Eureka Math and I hear a voice scream out to me “hey Ms. Lambert do you know Kobe and his daughter were killed in a plane crash.” I didn’t stop at that moment because I was in the middle of a math problem however I realized it needed to be address. Math had left their minds and answers to the situation at hand was needed. They waited patiently for me to finish the problems about area and get to more important things like their questions.
Because I am a teacher it is not my job to bring up things outside of the classroom, however once the subject comes up I make it my business to turn it into a teachable moment.
Often in life we forget that children have feelings and voices too. We try to silence them with our opinions and negate what they have to say but I LISTENED and I HEARD them.
Death in any form is hard for people. But, think about a child who doesn’t quite understand the whole process of it all and rely on you to help them understand. I am their teacher who they think knows it all or is willing to find out for them. They didn’t understand why life could be taken away so quickly. As best as I could I answered all their questions and eased their minds as most begin to say “I will never get on an airplane because I don’t want to die like they did.” Impressionable minds deserve honest answers.
Then here comes Covid-19 invoking the same fear again! Everyone who coughed or sneezed were accused of trying to kill them.
So back to March and the moment I lied to my kids. After morning greetings I have the same kid who brought up the Kobe misfortune say “Ms. Lambert we need to talk.” I remember last time he said this I had a lot of explaining to do to 25 wondering minds.
This time his fear was something I knew very little about and I assured him and the class it would be perfectly fine. I LIED!
This virus changed their eight and nine years old lives. Well the lie began like this…….Ms. Lambert have you been watching the news. I told them the truth and said no I haven’t my only source of information came from social media so I didn’t know what was factual and what was a lie.
So I turned on the news so that I could reassure them that everything would be alright. Maybe the earliest part of March we were again having math because that was taught during the first part of the day. This is also the part of the day were most of my scholars was the most alert so they always had many questions and didn’t stop asking until they got answers.
This particular day the young man said it’s in China right now so it’s not in our country so we are good right Ms. Lambert and I assured him that we were. He came back a few days later with some other scholars and said Ms. Lambert it’s in New York now. I’ve been to New York my aunt lives there and that was a long car ride but short plane ride so we are still good right. I agreed again. He came in a few days letter and said Ms. Lambert I think it spreading and it’s coming closer. It’s in Ohio now and jumped up to look at the map on the wall and said that is very close now.
“You do know Ohio is right next to Michigan?” He said. I said yes and then he asked me was he going to catch it and die. My heart broke because I realized that I had lied to these children when I told them this virus would not change anything.
In their eyes I knew it all and would always tell them the truth. But, I couldn’t fix this for them. I spent the next week or so reassuring them that life would be the same and inside I didn’t have a clue what would take place over the next few months. On March 12, 2020 was the last day I saw most of the 25 little people’s faces. I hugged them as many scurried off to the buses and I walked the others outside to wait for parents and siblings to pick them. They still had questions but I had no answers.
Our daily routine had turned into homework packets, online classes and weekly Zoom calls. Because all didn’t have access to the internet I didn’t see or hear from many of them anymore. I lied and said everything would be the same but life from that moment will never return to how it was before March 12th. If truth be told I lied because I didn’t have access to the truth.
“I guess sometimes you have to lie to find the truth.”
― Scott Westerfield