What If…We Celebrate Those Efforts

The school year ended last week. WHEW!

*stretches muscles, opens a pint of ice cream, clicks on 📺Netflix, grabs a blanket and maybe some Tylenol*

Can I start by saying a giant 🙌🏻THANK YOU to everyone who helped this year? I don’t care if you taught the students, drove the 🚌bus, worked in the office or 📚library, counseled or nursed the kids, 🪣cleaned the building, 🍔fed the bellies, or any role that makes school work. WE DID IT! 🎉Special shout out to the substitutes because coming into the schools this year was probably a bit like visiting Mars.❗️

If anyone told you that school during a pandemic was easy, they were lying. 😂My colleagues and I were more 😴exhausted at the end of each day than we’ve ever been before- mentally and physically. New teachers- it’s not always like this. 🥰Please come back! That’s not to say that there weren’t moments of joy. There were plenty of those. There were lots of smiles under our 😷masks. Teachers taught their curriculums, and students learned valuable information. ✅Positive relationships between kids and staff continued. ✅It’s just that nothing else was the same. 🙃I’m not going into specifics of all the things we had to alter because this is about our collective success.

I discovered some things that I liked better. For example, excess furniture and supplies were placed in storage to provide space for distancing desks. I do not need all of that back! Except for my 📚bookcases and classroom library, the rest of it can be donated or used elsewhere. I didn’t realize how much space I actually had in my classroom. I also didn’t realize how much extra stuff I had. I liked the ease of planning and grading on the learning platform through the 💻computer, although I hope to bring back some more traditional 📚book and 📝paper projects.

I am one of those 🍀lucky teachers who gets to have many of the same kids during their middle school years. I was chatting with a few of them about the year. While they made the best of it, they also missed a lot. They remembered sitting down with me to read together in prior years. They missed socials, assemblies, and 💃🏻🕺🏻dances. They missed dressing out for 🎽gym class. They missed sitting next to friends at 🍽lunch.

They also learned a lot- about themselves and the 🌎world. They learned:

⭐️acceptance because we had to roll with it even though we didn’t like it

⭐️adaptability because circumstances could change by the minute

⭐️technology because it was a lifeline with teachers and other students

⭐️responsibility because quarantines and snow days brought fully remote learning

⭐️appreciation for the little things- any school activity that seemed the slightest bit normal was a reason to celebrate

⭐️consistency because COVID protocols had to be followed- no ifs, ands, or buts- in every classroom, hallway, and other school spaces every day

⭐️compassion because everyone felt frustration at some point- sometimes, those frustrations bubbled over

⭐️community because we were all pulling on the same rope to make things work

⭐️persistence because our technology tools didn’t always work but we had to keep trying

No- this year wasn’t easy. 😞BUT- I’m so proud of everything we accomplished because we did it together. 💕We had in-person school during a global pandemic, people! 🥳All year long! 🎉What if…we celebrate those efforts? We made it happen safely! Hooray! 🎉When we have a common goal and join forces, the sky is the limit. Let’s remember that.💖

*smiles, snuggles under the blanket, scoops up a big bite of that ice cream*

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