What a fantastic opportunity we have been forced into!
I know that could be interpreted sarcastically; I mean it completely sincerely.
I am a teacher. Sometimes, I am a phenomenal teacher. Sometimes, I am a mediocre teacher.
We all know teachers who have been teaching for a long time, teaching the same thing, plugging along more or less on auto pilot. (As much as auto pilot works in this gig.)
We all know teachers who have completely resisted learning/using technologies.
We all get in routines, have our way of doing things, etc., even if we’re consistently learning and growing.
Now? Now we have the opportunity to re-think ALL OF IT.
I teach band. I’m in band teacher groups on Facebook where I get and share resources and ideas regularly.
Man. There are a lot of people trying to figure out how to do what they’ve always done, just through an internet connection or a face mask.
Missing the opportunity.
Don’t get me wrong: it’s hard. It’s exhausting. It’s time-consuming. And we’re all at square one again. Everyone I’ve talked to feels like a first year teacher.
Being a first year teacher is rough. Really rough.
(I can’t imagine being a first year teacher this year…)
If you’ve been banging your head against the wall trying to make this year like every other year through Zoom and face masks and life-draining expectations, I’m here to tell you—it’s not too late to change the course. Rethink everything. Do something differently. Do everything differently. What do you have to lose?
“But then my kids will be behind!” Behind what? Your expectations for where they “should” be? Your fear of someone else’s judgement of where they “should” be? And by extension, judgement of your competence as a teacher?
There is a global pandemic. Let the expectations go.
Right now, nearly everything is hard for nearly everyone. Stressing yourself out trying to make kids—who have their own laundry list of stresses to deal with—jump through hoops to try to pretend that everything is normal is … well … stressful.
Also, kids have so much less autonomy in choosing how to deal with everything that’s going on, or even knowing what healthy coping mechanisms are available. Do we want to be someone helping or someone hurting? I’m not convinced anyone is neutral now, or ever.
“Band is some kids’ safe place!” Yes it is! It was mine. Does that mean it needs to be as close to what they did last year as possible? You are their safe place. The group is their safe place. Keep the space sacred, but the activities? They can be shaken up.
Take a deep breath, let some of the weight go, and see what you come up with.