If you know a teacher or have a teacher friend or relative, or your kids are headed back to school, please, please, be extra kind to those in front of the class, virtual or otherwise. Teachers are venturing into unchartered territory, still, even after those long months last Spring and this summer and even now. This year teachers are remote or hybrid or in-person or some combination of all three, and they are training for these scenarios on the go, repairing the plane while they’re flying so to speak. They need your kind words. They need your continuing support. And everyone involved in this educational system, teachers and parents and students, need to foster resilience, in spades. We all have to be ready for everything and anything that might be coming our way. As we know it will crash on us. Wondering how might we survive?
Teachers everywhere are balancing or attempting to balance amidst unprecedented concerns. I am adapting to life in front of a screen instead of the dozens of youthful faces that filled my classroom for decades. It is strange indeed. I am fortunate that I can walk out my door, and straight into the woods, or to a whole garden of wonder. I can remember that as this Earth once did, it will continue to calm me.
At night, after the laptop is closed, I can take solace in the poetry and brilliance of words on a page. Holding paper is usually a good remedy for slowing my mind, and reminding me of before times, when we walked the floorboards of schools. Having a magazine delivered weekly reminds me that life will return, true, maybe not exactly the same as before, but life will circle back, and I plan to be ready for that.
Lately, the temperature at night has dipped to chilly, sweater chilly, which means the lake is cooling, but today, and as many days that I still can, I will dive in and forget lesson plans, formative and summative assessments, due dates and rubrics. Okay, I will not actually forget them, but for a second I will see only the sunlight filtering through the water as I raise one arm and then the other across the lake, happily.
There are afternoons that demand you look up and out and forget the pain of 2020 so far, of those who have passed or the adventures and delights we forfeited or the friends and family we miss desperately as we instead prepare in solitude for this new school year, for what we will gift our students, for what they will gift us. Life moves forward, with or without us, so I for one keep saying yes to what comes my way. Perhaps this is a teacher’s creed. As I am the daughter of two people who spent some years in this profession, I know it is clearly imperative that we restore hope and promise to our K through 12 youth. Regardless of their or your educational pathway, your teacher is thinking of this. Of that I am certain.
Before the day ends, thank a teacher. They have been thrust onto the front lines, without much support, but, and this I am the most grateful for, they are educated, and not in the YouTube fashion, but in the true nature of inquiry, of trial and error, collecting anecdotes from experience, and of broadening their perspectives clear across the spectrum. Put your trust in teachers. They will see you, your children, your grandchildren, and those countless little people you care about, and do their best for them. Together, they will band together in this calling, and as they have for decades, they will deliver. Eyes up all.