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Challenge: Back to School 2020

From the desk of a teacher-mama

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Dear Fellow Mama,

As each summer day passes and we inch closer to the 2020-2021 school year, I understand the increasing anxiety and worry that is building up. With so much uncertainty, I’m trying my best to only think about the present moment to avoid yet another migraine or panic attack about all the what-ifs and maybes of what lies ahead. But when our lives were turned upside down and inside out on that afternoon in March, we didn’t give up. As a result, many of us learned more than we ever thought we could in one school year. Much of what we learned is playing a key role in the decisions being made as administrative teams plan schedules and various building procedures, and teachers create lesson plans and school supply lists. Many of us are still awaiting official word on what the new school year will look like, but if you are a planner like me, you are already thinking about or have even started your back to school shopping. Yes, we can always use colored pencils and glue sticks. And yes, students benefit from binders and should always have a pen or pencil with them. But this year, I ask you to consider adding these must-have items to your back-to-school-supplies-shopping-list:

Communication – Now more than ever, communication is vital to our well-being. Yours, mine, and most importantly, your child’s. If the consequences of this pandemic outside of the “school-realm” haven’t impacted our children enough, their social lives have completely changed, in ways that are difficult to comprehend especially for their young minds that are still learning and growing. A core element of their development was ripped from them. We must work together for their social-emotional well-being. And ours too. Don’t ever be afraid to send that e-mail or make that phone call, and we will do the same.

Patience – These are uncharted waters for all of us. This is not something we studied for to pass our licensure tests. They never talked about this in our pre-practicum classes. And pending how this pans out, your job description does not include assisting your child with a Zoom lesson in between your client calls or guiding them through a Power Point presentation and Loom video before completing necessary tasks on your sales task list. Mistakes will happen. Things won’t get done. Let’s approach the entire situation, from both sides, with a little extra grace and a lot of extra patience, knowing that if a deadline is missed or something just isn’t quite right, we can forgive one another and try again tomorrow.

Trust — Anything is possible when it is done together. We have seen the importance of working together to ensure a successful education for all children. We know you want the best for your children. So do we. Approaching this “new normal”, whatever that may be, with a confidence in each other, to be the best educational team for your child, will ensure that not only learning and growth take place, but also that the children are happy and well.

(Oh, and Chocolate – It helps in all situations, doesn’t it? So grab an extra bag for both of us, please.)

Education is a family affair. You have welcomed me into your family. Your children, and possibly even you, have seen my home. They saw my children walk by the screen and heard my dog barking in the background. They probably even saw the mess on the kitchen table as I tended to family needs in the middle of our Zoom class. And I have seen yours and the hard work you are putting in. Now, more than ever, we are a family, and together we can make this a wonderful school year, no matter what happens.

With Love,

A Fellow Teacher-Mama

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