As a teacher, it feels like one school year ended and another is beginning with no real break in between. I don’t know about you, but it seems like at every turn someone is asking what school will look like in the fall? What do you think should happen…in person school or virtual or both? As a parent everyone wants to know if you will send your child back or keep them home. My own children want to know what is going to happen. It all feels like a lot of uncertainty after months of uncertainty.
However, I am a big believer in living in the now. This has been the one thing that has helped me get through the time as a mother, a wife, a teacher, a daughter. I have had to stop my busy and worrying mind and remind myself that I cannot do anything about the future or the past. The only thing that I have control over is right now.
This mindset has helped on those days when I just don’t think that I have any more patience. It has helped when I catch a glimpse of the news or a Facebook post (all of which I try to avoid these days). I have come to realize that what does happen with schools in the fall is going to be a GIANT undertaking no matter what is decided so it is important for all of us to really just enjoy our time now. We all need to recharge and relax so that we can be at our best when we do go back.
The funny thing is, I typically am writing a blog post each year about this exact topic for teachers. I have seen the burnout year after year in my colleagues and friends and have always advocated for teachers to use the summer to really recharge so that we can all go back in the fall and be the best that we can for our students. Never would I have thought that I would be writing after a year like we just had.
All of this being said, I do have a plea to anyone who may be listening. I hope that as decisions are being made and committees are meeting that we do listen to our teachers about how the fall should look. It has been amazing to me that teachers seem to have gotten lost in the shuffle of all that has happened. We did our jobs the very best that we could in a time of complete uncertainty and upheaval. Yet, it seems like at every turn we are either left out of the equation or criticized. I know that everyone had a different situation with online education. Some may have been great and there may have been others who would have liked more. However, what was asked of us as teachers was unprecedented and something that no one was prepared for. I know that was the case with many other professions as well, but I think it is because so many are affected by schools that there are so many opinions being thrown around.
Teachers do have a very good perspective on things that even administrators sometimes do not have. We know the ins and outs of our classroom routines and what will be affected. There are so often very small details that are mentioned about a school day that people will respond with “oh I never would have thought of that”. These are things that only teachers really know. I have always said that so many people have opinions on schools because everyone thinks that they are an expert because they WENT to school. However, like with any profession, when you do something day in and day out, you do become an expert on what happens every day. Please…listen to teachers! If you are someone who has never taught a day in your life, please do not make decisions for schools!!!
Let’s be sure that when deciding on this next school year that we are all being proactive starting right now. Let’s be sure that we are teaching our children to be compassionate and empathetic to everyone. No matter what happens, we are all going to need to approach this school year with more patience, kindness, and understanding than ever before. Why not start now? Teach your children to think about others when making choices. Let’s be role models on how to handle this crisis in a way that we can all be safe and live peacefully. We all have our opinions about one thing or another, but when it comes to our opinions about what should happen with schools, let’s all make a pact to only talk about things in an encouraging and positive way. Our children have been through so much. So much has been taken away from them and many have lived with stress and anxiety. Let’s not make the fall something to fear. Instead, let’s all work together to make decisions that will be safe and nurturing for our students and let’s always talk about them in that light.
For now teacher friends, take time for yourselves. Don’t waste your time worrying about what might happen in the fall. Take time to fill your tank now so that you can tackle whatever will come your way. You deserve the time to rest now. You have worked hard. Live in the moment. That is all that you have control of today!