My first year of teaching, I was hired the day before school. My second year of teaching, we were amidst a cyber hack and started the year without rosters, without a schedule, and without technology of any kind. This year, it’s a pandemic. Who’s got teaching on the moon for year four?
Covid-19 really turned everything on it’s head, especially education. My district in New Hampshire has been doing an amazing job figuring everything out and while I may be new, I feel super confident in the procedures and processes they’ve put in place. The year is going to look very different, but we’re going to get through it together!
Yes, we are starting in person.
Right now I have sixteen little kiddos who will be sitting in my class on the first day of school. They will be wearing masks at desks placed six feet apart, facing the board. We will have a (mostly) paperless classroom, which means I will have a Google Slide for them everyday that contains all the work they need to complete. I will teach the slides at the front of the room, trying my very best to stop myself from walking around, leaning down to their desk, and giving them hugs.
Yes, it will feel unnatural.
As educators, we’re in uncharted waters. School has looked and sounded a certain way all our lives. Now, we have to flip the script. How do you smile with your eyes? I’m working on it.
We are all recovering from trauma.
It may not seem like it, but we’re all recovering. Some may even still be in the midst of trauma. If, like me, you were lucky enough to only experience Covid-19 on the news, it may not have fully registered how drastically this pandemic has effected your person. Mentally, physically- the affects have truly been astronomical. This is the same case for our students. Social emotional learning is going to be crucial this year. Our administration is urging us, at least at first, to put academics to the side and really get to know our kids. Identify what they need. Until a student feels safe, they cannot build the capacity to learn.
We are still teachers, no matter what capacity we’re in.
One thing that will always hold true is that teaching is a calling. We are flexible. We are resilient. We take what we’re given and we run with it, cheering each other along and helping each other up when we fall down. If in two weeks, we are all remote, then we will make it work.
One day, when everything is back to “normal” and school looks more like it did, rather than how it does now, we will tell stories about these times. We will hold our heads high, proud, that we were able to make a difference when so many students needed us. We’ll laugh about the requirements we met and maybe even show gratitude for a time that is, without a doubt, going to make us better. Stronger. We’re in this together and we’ve got a lot of work to do.