Today we got the official word; schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year. My mind is raising. My heart is racing. I feel sick. I want to cry and cry hard. This is out of my control.
My Initial Thoughts
“Schools will remain closed for the remainder of the school year.” It has been a long time since I have felt this sense of loss. I don’t know how else to describe the emotions of school closures other than a sense of loss. The feeling is the lost time with my students… and experiences… and lessons… and the biggest loss is time with my students. Thus, I have officially lost all my students for the rest of the year.
Being in My Classroom
First, it has to be stated, I am not the kind of teacher who enjoys breaks or the end of the school year. I don’t rejoice on Friday afternoons and I am not sad on Sunday nights. Yes, I enjoy sleeping in a little on Saturdays and spending time with my family. But I also really love being in my classroom.
Then, I am not the type of teacher who counts down the days left in the year. More so, I want to teach in the building with my learners. I want the roster and I want to do the work.
My passion comes from seeing their faces and watching them learn. I want to show them how much fun it is to learn new things. Trust me, trust all of us, I don’t want the school to remain closed for the remainder of the year. I want the remainder of the year.
So What Kind of Teacher do I Become?
Now, my job has to shift. First, I turn my home into my classroom. Now, my computer becomes my tool to teach digitally. My mind has to shift, as well, to focus on becoming the kind of teacher I must become to help my students.
Next, I must shift toward understanding. My job is to take this loss with the understanding that this is the best thing for my students’ health and everyone else’s health. Even though I HATE it, even though the idea of this makes me sick and cry at the same time, even though I don’t want to do it. I know my job is to take this and make this into something beautiful for my little learners. Why? Because THEY ARE WORTH it.
What is this beautiful thing I will create for my students? I don’t have a clue. Instead, I have the motivation, drive, and compassion to make sure that I will create something beautiful for my little learners.
It is Personal
I have given 15 years’ worth of students a special 5th-grade experience as a teacher, and I was looking forward to giving the same to my oldest daughter, S. We both were looking forward to all her treasured experiences saved for 5th graders before they move up to middle school.
Sadly, my daughter is going to miss her school play Annie, where she was an orphan. Then, she is going to miss her track meet. She couldn’t wait for her final sign-off from the school news program she is a reporter for. She wanted her big cookout, award ceremony, 5th-grade walks, and the treasured Slip and Slide water day.
Your loss is real, S. I wanted all those things FOR you and to experience WITH you. I love you, I adore you, I am proud of you, and I believe in you. We will make some beautiful out of this. Giving up these things is just for the greater good right now.
And Those Graduates…
Finally, thirteen years ago, in my third year teaching, I had an INCREDIBLE group of Kinders who are graduating high school this year. To my graduating class of 2020, and all those 2020 Seniors, I am sorry for your loss. I love you, I adore you, I am proud of you, and I believe in you. We will make some beautiful out of this. This loss is real for them.
Finally, if you are feeling this loss of control and loss of a classroom, or for your own student, or even for a 2020 Senior, please know you are not alone. Your feelings are real and they matter.
Now, since we can’t control the things we can’t control, let’s shift towards making something beautiful for our students, our seniors, and our world NOW. Because that is what we can control.