Throughout my work on this blog, I have read many articles and found countless resources on education during a pandemic, each allowing me a unique perspective and providing a fuller understanding of education as a whole. Social media has been another key tool in my comprehension of the reality of teaching during these times. I saw a Tweet the other day essentially stating that while there have been many valid fears of children falling behind academically, framing it in such a way only relays part of the story. These children aren’t simply ‘falling behind’, they are surviving a pandemic, we all are surviving a pandemic and to put it any other way would be a disservice to yourself and everyone in the education system. Parents, students, teachers, education assistants, and every single person within the school are working with what they have. Giving the best you have is truly all that can be done right now. Every student and educator is a survivor and should be proud of what can be achieved under the circumstances.
There is an apparent sense of dreariness plaguing our nation and undoubtedly touching our school system. Teachers and students should of course continue to learn and grow together, but it would be naïve to believe that the pace and information will be the same as years in the past. Comprehending this is important in adjusting expectations for ourselves and others. Just getting through each day is a huge accomplishment for many and it is important to acknowledge this and allow for victories no matter how small to be celebrated.
I was reminded of the importance when I saw a sign during one of my many walks in my time in Alaska. It was outside the elementary school I passed every morning and it simply stated “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do everything that you can.” Though the words are simple, the meaning is anything but. Especially within the context of an elementary school where the students haven’t roamed the halls for many months. They are yearning for normalcy while acknowledging reality. All we can truly ask of anyone right now is as much as they can give and that varies greatly from person to person. Use whatever tools you can, give your all, but it is also okay if that is not as much as usual. We are all in over our heads and all we can focus on is keeping our head above water.
Protecting yourself and your health is vital during this times. It’s not easy on anyone right now and educators are facing the brunt of it along with their students. It is okay to have to take space from work and obligations, everything appears much greater and scarier at this point in time. It is normal to not achieve what you might have earlier in the year. Teachers are trying their best just as their students are doing the very best they can. This year has been draining, to say the least, and without an end in sight, there is a heaviness weighing on our brothers and sisters across the country. This wears down everyone and recognizing the weight allows for giving grace to oneself and those around you.
Remember to be kind to yourself and that the best you can give right now might not be the same as the best you gave at this time last year. It is imperative for everyone to take care of themselves now more than ever. Be proud of what you accomplish no matter how small it may seem. Importance and normalcy were lost long ago, and the definitions have shifted to our new normal and every individual must create new definitions for their transformed reality.
Thank you for reading and please leave any thoughts below!