What If…It’s the Same and Different

I haven’t had much ⏰time for anything else this week because one thing has been on my mind and my schedule- 🏫school. This is the time of year that I’m usually organizing the 📚novels that I plan to read with my students. I’m usually setting up my classroom library and sharpening 📝pencils for the ‘borrowing cup.’ I’m putting names on folders and planning the layout of my room.

Not this year.😔

My own kids grew up coming to 🏫school during the summers to help me prepare for the new years. Teachers’ kids know what I’m talking about- making posters, writing names on 📑papers, sorting which old 🎨art supplies to keep and which to toss. I traditionally paid them with 🍧ice cream.

Not this year.😔

I’m the advisor for a student🌟 leadership group at our school. Usually, those kiddos are volunteering to help teachers with little chores and stuffing 📝paperwork in folders for the office. They’re working with incoming 6th-graders for orientation and putting up bulletin boards to 💞welcome students back to school.

Not this year.😔

Screen Shot 2020-07-31 at 9.35.35 AMTeachers like me have been trying to prepare for the upcoming school 📅year since last Spring when it became evident that school as we knew it was gone for the time being.😢 We’ve learned new ways to present material. We discovered innovative methods to virtually 💻connect with students. We spent ⏰hours and ⏰hours and ⏰hours putting lessons online to make sure quality learning experiences will be available for every student- whether he is sitting in the classroom or quarantined and working from 🏠home for a while.

Teachers like me are feeling both😊 hopeful and 😕anxious, and I think it’s okay to admit that. The changes are gigantic- and coming at us daily. We’re listening and learning and adapting. It’s what we do.💯

Teachers like me are stocking up on sanitizer. We’re preparing to wear our 😷masks all day. We’re moving out the extra furniture so that there is plenty of space for social distancing the desks. My classroom 📚library bookshelves are placed in storage. The tubs of community ✂🎨art supplies are shoved in closets. Literature sets will be left in plastic totes. Even the life-sized cardboard Ironman moved to the storage room for the time being.

Teachers like me are figuring out how to make a changed classroom layout still feel like a 💖welcoming space. The classroom is pretty much desks and chairs, but the walls are still the same. My room has no windows (which means no fresh air- that’s a whole different issue!). When I first moved into that room, my oldest daughter decided that students needed ways to look “outside.” 🌄We bought posters of scenery from mountains to Paris to an English 🌹garden, and she framed them with brown construction paper. Thanks to those windows, it’s still an inviting place for my students to learn.😍 My walls will become the places to add personal touches. Surfaces must be clear to make it easier for extra cleaning.

Teachers like me are preparing to show our kids 💙kindness and 💚compassion from 6-feet away. We’re at school for one thing- our students. 🍎They deserve nothing less than our best 🌟efforts during a school year that is sure to go down in history. That’s what they’ll get because that’s what we do- no matter the circumstances.🙌

I appreciate that people are trying to 💞understand what it will be like for schools to be open. Unless you are in the trenches as a teacher or principal or counselor or librarian or custodian or bus driver or para or school secretary or school nurse or cook, you’re not truly going to get it. 😔You can’t. I don’t know what it’s like to be a dentist just because I brush and floss.✅ I don’t know all of the laws and rules for 🚗car dealers just because I’ve bought and sold vehicles. Every job has those things that the outside world doesn’t- and can’t- understand without being there day in and day out.

For those of us working in 🍎schools, our job also has the massive responsibility of your most prized 💝blessings- your children. We don’t take that lightly. Your children are the 💝reasons we are there- the 💝reasons that we still want to be there, despite all the craziness. We just want to do it right for your children because when they’re in the classroom, they’re our kids, too.💯

What if…it’s the same and different? I think it will be a little of both. I trust the 📝learning and the 💖love will stay the same. I hope that the 🚫safety protocols will be the difference necessary to keep all of us healthy. In my district, we’re counting the days. Good thoughts, 💞well wishes, and 🙏prayers accepted!💜

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