One week y’all! If you’re a parent and reading this; please know we love your kids. That being said, this school year has been tiring like we’ve NEVER experienced. This last four months in education has honestly felt like four years. Students, families, and educators are feeling their feelings, and we are ALL ready for a break. This is such a strange time to be in education. Although our chosen profession has always had it’s fair share of stressors to deal with, it’s like 2020 rolled in and said “Hold my beer.” We’ve had to learn how to teach from a whole new platform, we miss our kids, and there are a whole lot of opinions out there about how we should do our jobs. There is such a division in our country around how to keep our kids and educators safe, while also providing a great quality education. So as you continue to focus on connection and engagement with your students, we want you to know a few things:
To the educator who read another email from a frustrated parent, casting blame on you for their child’s struggle: we see you.
To the educator who spent time waiting in another google meeting, for a kid or parent who didn’t show up: we see you.
To the educator who puts on a brave smile each day, even though you are worried about the health of a loved one: we see you.
To the educator who had to scroll past another hurtful post from a community member, calling all teachers selfish for not returning to school: we see you.
To the educator who is also juggling their own family’s school schedule while attempting to support their students: we see you.
To the educator up at night worrying about their students’ needs: we see you.
To the educator, overwhelmed with the technology learning curve, and doubting themselves in this profession: we see you.
We see you, and we are with you. The reality is, you have NO control over the decisions your state or local health authority make regarding returning to in person learning. That frustration you get the brunt of from vocal stakeholders is not really aimed at you; this is just tough on all of us. Parents, educators, kids, tutors, and grandparents are all struggling. So when the loudest voices attempt to go after your character, and insinuate you don’t care about your students, we want you to remember something. You are stronger and braver than you think, and one day, this struggle will pass. Please remember, this profession is a calling, and you have a network of people to support you; even when the odds seem insurmountable. Keep doing the amazing things you are doing to support your students. The impromptu singing and dancing, while hoping, for the love of God, they will turn their cameras on; the morning meeting prompts aimed at connection; and the home visits and deliveries of the latest STEM project are fantastic. These things make a difference. You rock it on the daily and we see and appreciate it. However, as we move into the last week of school before break, we want to give you permission (and we want you to give yourself permission) to do a few things:
This week, please give yourself permission to:
Sleep in an extra 15 minutes. Throw your hair up in a bun or grab your favorite hat. Seriously. Take advantage of not being in the building, and the fact that no one will see your greasy bed head. Bonus: no one will get close to you so even showering is optional. Just don’t take it too far.
Deviate from your pacing guide and do something out of the box. Yep, one of us is a principal and we are encouraging you to scrap the typical plan and DO SOMETHING FUN! How about a cool math activity that incorporates snowflakes, or comparing a couple articles on holiday traditions around the world. Maybe you do a mini “room transformation” in your home office complete with flashing strobe lights and music. You get the picture. Make it fun; and they will come.
Wear your PJ bottoms and cozy Christmas socks while teaching. The students can’t see them, but you will feel way more comfortable. Maybe you’ll feel like you pulled a fast one on them or your administrator. We won’t tell.
Go for a walk on your break, in between meetings, or at lunch. Yeah we know; everyone recommends this. Honestly though, there is something so rejuvenating about walking away from your technology and being outside. Live in the neighborhood you teach in like us? No problem. Anyone sees you will know you are modeling self care for your students. That’s how we prefer to think about it.
Skip the traditional dinner. Anyone else SO tired of cooking at home? At the beginning of this pandemic we were so pumped about family dinners and trying out new recipes at home. Fast forward 9 months, and it’s lost it’s luster. Hint of Lime Chips and diet soda, or an adult beverage with cheese and crackers, is the perfect alternative to making dinner. You can always eat a salad tomorrow if this totally freaks you out.
Focus on connecting with kids and telling stories. We have so much pressure to get everything done, and help our students meet the standards. Please remember, connection is what will help them accomplish this goal. We like to say “relationships before rigor.” Right now, more than anything, kids need to know you care
Forgive yourself when the last thing you want to do is jump into a meeting to support a student. Everyone feels SO OVER this learning environment, including the kids. It’s okay to not feel excited about it. It doesn’t mean you are a bad teacher. (Say it to yourself now. “I am not a bad teacher.”) We know you will support them anyway, but we understand if you’re not chomping at the bit to do it.
We can’t emphasize enough how much we appreciate how you show up for kids. Remember though; to show up for them, you have to show up for yourself. So for this last week of school, let’s ditch the guilt, ignore the hateful posts, have some fun, and abandon your typical lesson plans. If you’re looking for us, we’ll be eating sugar cookies while dressed to the nines for spirit week. We are bringing the joy next week, and we hope you will too!