I've been trying to write this for 3 weeks. As with most everything in 2020, plans changed. I should already have had 2 weeks of school under my belt by now, but my first day is this coming Thursday. My oldest daughter still has a week of summer vacation before starting high school. I should have spent the majority of this weekend at a soccer tournament. I don't think I have the right words, but I need to get this out. I know I can.
This reality has a new feeling ... I hesitate to call this "normal" ... I don't want this to BE normal. This reality has new and different challenges. I've shed tears and I know more will come. I've been angry and felt defeated. COVID-19 has rocked me. What started out as a 3 week pause, turned into a full remote learning for the entire fourth quarter. Then summer was extended as guidelines changed and precautions were outlined and new safety measures were developed.
With everything, I know I have a choice. I have a choice with my words and my actions. I may not like my choices, but they are there for me to make the best of. I'm not perfect and I won't always make the right choice.
We say the same thing to our daughters here at home. My youngest two girls started school this past week. Face-to-face, five days a week. They have to have their temperatures taken before entering school. They wear masks. They mostly sit in their desks. Specials teachers come to their rooms. They sit on dots spaced out in the cafeteria. And when we explained the "rules" for school, they smiled and accepted them. They don't like wearing masks, but they wanted to go back to school. I cried when we dropped them off ... HAPPY tears! After 5 months, they were back in school.
I don't want this to be "normal" ... but I have accepted this is what we have to do right now. And I want to face this head on and do the best I can.
I listened to one of my favorite podcasts this morning on my post-run cool down. The Innovator's Mindset by George Couros. It was 10 minutes long and he talked about giving grace to others and yourself. He said it well when he said it's easy to give others grace but often, it's tough to give it to ourselves. That is so very true! Give your students grace; give their parents grace; give your colleagues grace; give your administrators grace; and give YOURSELF grace. You can.
As this school year starts, I don't know truly what to expect. I hope I meet the challenges head on. I hope I ask for and seek help when I need it. I hope that my daughters have a good year. I hope that we all stay healthy. I hope we use this forced change to improve everything we do. I hope that we will look back on this school year and say, with confidence, we did it!