As I look back on one of the most stressful years many of us have experienced in this profession, I realize that while the fear of the unknown, the addition of numerous safety and cleaning protocols, and the onslaught of constant changes were sources of incredible stress for my staff, there was one stressor that far outweighed them all…
The Fear of Not Making a Difference
That feeling that you are making a difference in the lives of children is one of the most rewarding aspects of being an educator. Sometimes you can see the difference through academic growth. You can see the gains a student has made in reading level or math competency. Other times, the differences are harder to spot, but either way, few teachers enter the profession without the goal of making a difference.
As our students were learning from a distance this year, it was harder to see the gains the students were making like you can when they are right beside you, reading to your or showing you their analysis of a science phenomenon. This was really hard on the teachers. Now that we have achieved a small sense of “normalcy” during this last month, instead of seeing teaching tiredly trudging to the end of May, I see a new spring in teachers’ step and can feel a renewed excitement.
Our staff is beginning to discuss plans for how to “catch kids up.” They are getting creative, thinking of new ways to teach basic skills while integrating a personal passion. While this pandemic has left us all reeling, it also has afforded us incredible resources (monetary and internal) for creating school experiences we’ve never been able to before! I personally hope I never take for granted the privilege I have been blessed with in getting to work with children IN PERSON. As we plan for what comes next, it’s exciting to dream about what we can do for the children and families in our community and how we can make a difference.