A letter to all of you the amazing educators that I miss every day
I know you are doing your best in a rough situation. I know you miss your students and your fellow faculty. I know you are grieving for so, so much. I know this is rough. If your experience with all this distancing is anything like mine, you have been on a rollercoaster of emotion. And it’s been quite a ride.
The first week I dove into work – writing blogs, setting up Zoom meetings, reaching out to all of you. I buried myself in work. I was determined to be productive and contribute! I was separated from the teachers I worked with, but I was going to make it happen! But everything felt futile. Maybe you went through this, too. So many ideas for online lessons, so many new things to try! And then they didn’t log on. Or technology didn’t work. Or your school had different guidelines. It was a let down. I see you, teacher.
That next week was rough. I couldn’t help but give in to the fact that I couldn’t “make things happen.” I decided to try to pivot. Offer help where there was need. Maybe I’ll tutor! I wanted so much to be able to help. I was still on the “do something” train of thought. I was trying to write my second book, but my head was all over the place. And maybe you did this, too. You made changes, made yourself more available. Maybe you got to chat with a few students, but it still wasn’t the same. I see you, teacher.
Week three was when I kind of gave in. Netflix, a giant book of crossword puzzles, and a too-big-for-my-table 2500 piece jigsaw puzzle. This is apparently what life would be. And there were tears, lots of tears. And maybe you did this, too. Stayed in your PJs all day, gave in to a lot of good books. Binge watched. Maybe you had more wine than usual. I see you, teacher.
And then this last week, I feel like I came out of a cloud. I realized I had done everything I could do to keep my business going and now I just had to sit and be. I had to run and read and try to be in a good place. And I finally sat down and started writing book number two. And the words flowed. And I hope you got here, too, teacher. I hope you have decided to be kind to yourself and realize you need to take care of you. These are unprecedented times in our lifetimes. We deserve a break. You deserve a break.
This week I feel better. I get to work and train online two days!!! Yay! But I also feel like I can better manage all the crazy. Do the follow-ups and all of that. I feel like I’ve come to a place of acceptance – that I will just have to deal with things as they come. And I will do my best with what I have. And you will, too, teacher. You will do the best you can for your students. You will take care of yourself. You will still cry and grieve, but you will know that you’ll come out better on the other side of this. It might even make you a more empathetic teacher.
So do what you can, but realize you can’t do it all. It’s normal to grieve and be sad. It’s normal to have AM and PM PJs. It’s also normal to head out for a run on a beautiful day and feel happiness. It’s ok if you decide to add Disney+ to your Amazon channels (I mean, I hope it is because I did). Do what you need to do to get through this.
Teacher, I miss you. I miss working with you. I miss your students and how you work with them. When this is all over, I will be so happy to be back in your classroom, working side-by-side with you. And that vision of the future is what gets me through the day.
Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay strong.