We never imagined this. No one imagined this. There is not a “Teaching During a Pandemic” unit in teacher college. We don’t have drills for it. There was no contingency plan.
We’re making it up as we go. We’re stressed. In my wildest dreams, I never thought staying home could be this exhausting.
It is hard for people to understand that this isn’t fun. It’s not a vacation. It’s not time away from work. I would give just about anything to be back in school with my students and my colleagues, who are some of my closest friends. Every other teacher I know would say the same.
We’re not fine. Nothing about this is fine. School isn’t supposed to be Google Classroom posts and Zoom meetings.
We’re teachers. We do our best work on our small stage in front of a crowd of our adoring fans. School, by its very nature, is a social event.
There is something inherently calming about the rhythm and seasons of the school year. September brings new promise and excitement for a new year, which paves the way into Fall. Then Thanksgiving and Christmas come and you’re in the depths of winter and your classroom really hits its stride. Then, the excitement of Spring brings April vacation and a l-l-l-long stretch to Memorial Day weekend, where you finally wind down the year, closing this chapter of your teaching career.
You say goodbye to these kids, this class that will never exist again. You say goodbye to the community you created. You’re exhausted by now, so you’re looking forward to a break; long days of summer designed for you to rest, relax and rejuvenate and come back in September ready to do it all again.
This- a pandemic- it’s not supposed to be a season of our school year. This isn’t how it’s supposed to be.
Day to day, you find the things to be grateful for that keep you going. Some days it’s the big things- health, safety, a home. Some days it’s the small things- this time away from school has given me the time to walk everyday. I’ve gotten to watch the tree in my backyard bloom- something I haven’t noticed in my decade of living here. I’m more rested because my alarm is no longer screaming at me at 4:45am. I can take more karate classes since my basement is now my dojang. My house is cleaner. I’ve had time to start this blog.
But I’d give it all back.
Give me the 4:45 alarm.
Let the tree bloom without me there to witness it.
Give me back my messy house.
Erase this blog post.
I’d give so many things back if it meant that this was over. Every challenging day in the classroom. Every stressful meeting. Every long commute. I would do anything to go back in time and change the course of history to prevent this from happening.
Ultimately, we’re teachers. We survive. We adapt. When districts say “jump”, we say, “How high?”. We do our best to create normalcy for our students.
But we know it’s a Band-aid solution that is only meant to be temporary- a few months at most. This isn’t a long-term solution. We need to be back together again, in our classrooms, teaching like it was meant to be.
One thing I’ve learned through all of this? When the going gets tough, teachers support each other unconditionally. For that, I am grateful. We all get by with a little help from our friends.
Love and Giggles,