Stand by students and educators

I’m a high school English teacher at an extraordinary high school with a brand new building. I work exclusively with second language learners, and I thought that I had been through the wringer when my colleagues and I had to utterly reconfigure our instructional model to an online platform in the spring. I have made it a motto of sorts to stay flexible in my profession, since the nature of my work is continually in flux. I am again faced with the fact that, this fall, I had better be in a flexible state of mind as we continue to face the reality that is Covid-19. It has not gone away (as I’m sure you have noticed). Ugh. Just ugh.

Please, y’all…as decisions are being made and educators whom you know make exceptionally difficult decisions surrounding the school year ahead, please grant us the grace that you wish to be shown each day. As educators, many of us are nervous, anxious, on edge, and biting our nails. We are awaiting word from our states and districts regarding how we will proceed, and we are having to stay flexible as even those plans that are announced one week may change in the next due to Covid case numbers in our states and counties. Keep in mind that we want nothing more than to educate our students equitably, fairly, and with fidelity—and to keep them safe while doing so. We also want school staff members to feel safe and protected in their work environment, just as every worker wants to feel (though I know many do not and are bravely and stalwartly working daily in spite of the Covid dangers). We’d love nothing more than to be heading back to our classrooms this fall, but right now, that seems dangerous. Many students and teachers are exceptionally uncomfortable with the idea of being back in our school buildings and classrooms in order to do our jobs or to be educated. Teachers and staff are not in charge of making the decisions surrounding next steps regarding how school districts shall proceed with instruction. So please, if you’re frustrated with whatever decisions are made, take your concerns to the school board or to the superintendent’s office. Make that phone call to the superintendent or send that email to the board. They hold the power.

Thanks for supporting educators (or considering it!). Your kindness and concern go farther than you can begin to imagine.

Stand by kids (even if they’re not your own)—they need you! Stand by the educators in your sphere—listen well, be kind. Love one another well—we ALL need support!

As the first day of school fast approaches, may each teacher and school staff member be given the grace that we desperately need from our communities (that means from you, dear reader!) in order to do our jobs so that our students—every single dear child—can thrive in the face of this calamity. Peace!