Often I end my school year on a high, feeling each student’s gain as my own, each of their successes intrinsically linked to my doing. Well, perhaps that is a bit egotistically, but I do work very very hard all year long, meeting students where they are, and helping them make steps toward their goals, so often I celebrate their favorable results. Equally true is my sense of loss when they don’t hit the mark.
But this year, there is no meter or measurement that could calculate as it once did. While in dismissal, so many students worked through remarkable challenges to attend google meets whether on their beds, on a Spring-time sunny deck, sitting in isolation while in noisy kitchens, or even driving in a car, and often times with confusion and worry etched into their faces. Yet together we moved into unknown territory to find meaning and hope and the value in learning, despite uneven odds. There is little to discuss about school prior to March, as what followed was so unprecedented, but all the work I did (and teachers around the globe did) to keep students’ trust, to reenergize their enthusiasm, and to maintain consistent pathways for them to work remotely, were crafted and put solidly in place, and that speaks volumes. Students, many who were at first melancholy over everything they lost, gained strength from each other, from this new community, and worked diligently until the end. I am proud of their integrity and resolve.
This year, with the challenge of school dismissal and remote teaching coming right out of the dark, there are many well beyond myself to thank, from special educators to paraeducators to many colleagues who coached and shared and modeled strength. Teaching always takes a village, but this year, that African proverb is glaringly evident. I am humbled by the caring efforts of the people who helped me navigate despite the everyday challenges. I was equally buoyed by the majority of students themselves. They rose into uncertainty like true explorers. I would say that together we made the impossible possible.
What now? Time for all of us to say job well done. Breath a bit. Awwww summer, time to dive into the darkest water I dare, stare into the big blue overhead, delve into my own depths and write some more.