I usually write blog posts for other teachers, letters to students, emails to parents. But today, this note is for me and all of the educators out there who are starting the year under very different circumstances.
Note to Self
1. You are enough. You can’t be the teacher you were in the classroom. You’ll be a different teacher. A great teacher. Stop comparing the incomparable.
2. You will work harder than you have ever worked before and you won’t know that you are making an impact. You won’t see the light bulb moments. Trust that they are happening.
3. You’ve seen the meme. So many of your favorite teachers were on a screen. Remember Reading Rainbow? Sesame Street? Mr. Rodgers? These people introduced you to learning through a screen and yet they made you feel like you mattered. It can be done; and you’ll do it.
4. It’s okay to not have some kind of Pollyanna attitude. Give your students you best and then when you need to vent about how impossible this all feels. Call your colleagues, text your village. Wallow in it if you must and then get back to work.
5. When parents complain (generally or even to you specifically) know that it isn’t about you, or teachers, or really even schools. It’s about this impossible situation they find themselves in. You often take things personally -- don’t. This truly isn’t about you. Be an empathetic problem solver.
6. You’ve always been told to focus on relationships. Today this is true more than ever. Sure, kids need to learn content, but they also need schedules, and routine, and connection. They need you, more than content.
7. When you want to complain about what is happening with your own children don’t. (See #5. You’re doing it.)
8. Think twice before sending the email because everyone’s email right now is a swell of chaos. Gone are the days of “hey, I just wanted to reach out” Make every communication, short, sweet and purposeful.
9. Be a fearless advocate for your kids, your students. If the rules need bending, bend them. It’s a pandemic.
10. This will pass. It's not forever. It is a moment in time and when you look back it, you’ll know that you came out stronger educator than you were at the start of 2020. You’ll return to your classroom, you’ll hug colleagues, you’ll walk the halls and wave at your students. You’ll be you again. A better you.
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