It’s been quite a year. So many times in the past few weeks I have asked myself, “What was I doing a year ago?”
A year ago I had no idea what was about to happen. I was worried about getting everything graded and making sure my comments were written for third quarter report cards. I’m sure I was frustrated at one student for not getting her work turned in on time and worried about a different student when he didn’t score well on a test.
And just like that, everything changed.
Everything we knew about teaching altered. How we taught, where we taught, and for some, even whom we taught changed. Loud classrooms with students learning and exploring turned into blank circles and chat boxes. Hands-on lessons and field work turned into online labs and virtual field trips. Teachers have had to be more flexible than ever before. I’m sure all teachers have now had enough PD time in technology to earn an extra college degree.
To sum it up, it’s been exhausting. No matter how much I try to rest and take care of myself, I am always tired and, honestly, tired of complaining about being tired. Teaching both online and in-person classes leaves me feeling like I just ran a marathon. Comments on social media about how teachers need to stop complaining and open up schools make me angry and defeated. Decisions about state testing cause me to question where that money could be better spent.
But one thing has stayed true, my students. I love my students. Even with masks and social distancing, we are still able to have a great time. School looks different, but, seeing them excited to learn something new, gives me the extra energy I need to come to school each day. I am so grateful for them and their positive vibes.
Truthfully, it hasn’t all been horrible. New ideas and traditions have popped up during this pandemic time, and I hope they continue. I am currently volunteering my time with the Colorado Science Education Network Steering Committee. One project this group is planning is to work with district science leads to determine what new normal to create when all this is over. We do not want to go back. Normal was not working for students or teachers. Instead, what can we take from this past year and use to create the new normal we want?
Yesterday I got my second vaccination shot. Through the amazing work of science, in less than a year from all this craziness, we have not just one, but several vaccinations for COVID-19. Yay science! I think about all the scientists working very diligently for the past year to help cure this world crisis, and it looks like they did. You know what, those scientists had to start somewhere. At one point they were sitting in a classroom just like yours, learning about cells, Newton's Three Laws, and the rock cycle. They were being inspired by a teacher just like you. Because of that encouragement, they decided to pursue science as a career. And with that passion, they were able to create vaccinations that will save many, many lives.
So if you are frustrated today, overwhelmed and ready to quit, don’t forget about your students. You influence them and who knows, maybe you will inspire a specific student who will go on to do amazing things.
Region III Board Member