I am a mother, wife, teacher, elderly-dog caregiver (yes, it is work!), and human. The start of this school year has me in a place I have not felt in a long time, if ever.
. . . I just deleted a LONG rant about why this time is so different and stressful. I imagine many of you are feeling the pangs of life in 2020. I do not need to whine to you. Instead, let me share some insights I have come to over the last few weeks.
- Plans change and that is OK. Late in the Summer I decided I would conduct my classes in a certain way and I was so excited to apply this structure daily. Guess what. Not once has that plan gone into place. What I am doing instead is working and I am ready to give up on the guilt trip of not following my amazing, exciting, better-than-anyone-could-imagine plan for education. 🙂
- Students are stressed, too. I receive so many emails from students panicked because of a due date or because their internet kicked them out of Zoom or . . . . They need to be reassured that things are going to be okay. I absolutely feel deadlines are important, and when we are back in the classroom I will get back to drilling that message into them. For now, though, I want to alleviate the stress that I can for them. They have too many other, bigger issues to worry about. (I know this may come back to bite me later, but I am willing to take my chances).
- I love being creative. With the time it is taking me to grade, Zoom, record, email, and post assignments, I am not finding time to be creative. This part of this time in my life is hitting harder than I expected. It turns out, being creative in my instruction is important to me. Creativity excites me. I miss the excitement. 😦
- Reflecting on practices is essential. As I work through my learning goals, I am finding myself reflecting more and more on what I used to do and what I need to do now. This reflection is critical right now. I cannot teach the depth of content that I used. I need to make decisions about what can be lost for now and what is essential, and reflection has become my means for making those decisions. I find myself remembering, too, how students reacted to previous lessons or projects and using that type of reflection to guide my choices of instruction, too. It is a process.
- Community still exists. The community we live in suffered during the wildfires. This crisis brought out a huge outpouring of support for others. It was beautiful and noticed. Well, our school communities have suffered, too, in the crisis of COVID-19. I am so thankful my school has purposefully embedded opportunities for rekindling the community spirit into the school life, even if it is online. We need one another. WE NEED ONE ANOTHER.
I hope something in here resonates with you. If you are struggling, please know you are not alone. Reach out to a colleague or send me a message. Let us rebuild community, reimagine our classes, support our students and one another, and learn to find joy in the present situation. I plan to make it through this! 🙂