We are exhausted! Not just tired, but completely and utterly exhausted. How about you? While we have had more time at home because of the pandemic, it certainly hasn't been restful. Our minds never stopped running with worry, planning, reading, grading, and learning a bunch of new technology. We lost sight of work-life balance because it all merged into one. All of this has taken a toll on us. We like to look for the good and to be intentionally grateful. While we still do this, and it’s helped to flip our mindset in a positive direction, it didn’t take away the amount of work and stress we felt this year. You’ve made it! It’s time to breathe and take time to celebrate. Instead of focusing on how hard this year was, let’s reflect on the obstacles we overcame, and the growth we made. It was rough, really rough at times this school year, but we persevered and kept going. We were resilient while also learning so much about ourselves.
What were some things that helped us grow during this time? Some positives that came from remote learning were things like one-to-one family welcome conferences to start the year. We had time to connect with each student and their family individually, which doesn’t happen on a typical meet the teacher night. Small group instruction was strong this school year. We were able to fully focus on individual needs, albeit challenging through a computer rather than in person. We were able to have our winter conferences (and basically every remote learning day) with pj’s and slippers because nobody sees our bottom half. Once in-person instruction began, we had the opportunity to intentionally check in with each student in the morning with temperature checks, greet them and say good morning. We learned to think out of the box and get creative with engagement and learning strategies. We learned so many new tech tools. Our students learned to type or at least voice type and discovered so many cool apps and tricks to help them be successful with technology. It felt like blood, sweat, and tears at times, but we ALL grew! We must give ourselves some time to recover after this grueling year. 20/21 reminds us a lot of giving birth. It took 9 months to grow that human, and it is going to take months to fully recover. No one bounces right back after a year like this one, no matter what their Instagram feed says. Let's rejuvenate. Breathe. Sleep. Unwind and relax. Give yourself the gift of taking that time. And don’t feel guilty about it for even one moment. You’ve earned it. We need to take care of ourselves, so we are ready to return to our kids in the fall, fully present. What do you need? What will you do? We all chose this work because we know it is important and necessary. Let’s prepare ourselves to be ready for the next set of challenges that come our way. We were made for greatness and we were made to do hard things. Congratulations. You made it! And, you will be ready to do it all again!