I’ll never forget that Friday the 13th in 2020. Admin let us know to send student work home and to be honest I had no clue what to tell my kids. Many cried and were scared because we didn’t know what C0vid would bring.
Teachers were given two weeks to learn Canvas, get technology to each student, and develop plans for virtual instruction. (A brand new skill set, if I may add 👀)
Many of us taught from our own living spaces to small boxes in screens for months.
Testing was waived, grades were eliminated and student wellness was a top priority.
Now, here we are TWO YEARS LATER with standardized tests, grade requirements, and the focus on student wellness is up to teacher discretion. All while recovering from the impacts of a global pandemic.
As we begin to shift back to the way things were, let us not forget the inequities and systemic issues that exits within public education. For me this looks like focusing on what I can control in order to get up every day and return to doing the work I love so dearly.
I can’t control standardized tests, but I can somewhat control my grading practices and focus on student wellness.
I can model mental health strategies and make space for my students be themselves in my room. I can facilitate discussion that targets social emotional learning and supports my kids before they go to middle school. It’s not part of the curriculum, BUT it’s definitely needed. And because we aren’t being told specifically WHAT to do, some may skip this extremely important factor in student success. The other day our counselor checked in with every fifth grader and she happily reported that my class had so many good things to say about how they were feeling and what they were learning.
Within the realm of your control, what are you focusing on?