classroom, health and wellness, live in the now, pandemic, teaching

End of 100%

Sometimes a piece of paper needs to be cut exactly in half and scissors aren’t readily available. There is another method that can potentially get the job done.

The edges of the page can be carefully matched up, corner to corner, in near perfect alignment.

A beautiful crease can then be made right down the middle. The fold is created exactly in the center, and it’s almost as if the line is evidence of some kind of satisfying achievement. The last step before the main event.

Then, the moment arrives. The goal and intention has always been to divide the original in two, knowing that the method is not ideal.

Carefully, with close attention to detail, the tearing apart begins.

That exact nerve wracking moment when the paper fibers initially begin releasing from each other with the hope of creating two equal shares feels very similar to what some teachers and educational professionals have felt while preparing for pandemic hybrid learning.

The pressure has been intense. The expectations all around us and of ourselves has amplified that pressure. We have made decisions that involve everything in terms of halves; half days, half of classes, two cohorts, two platforms for delivering instruction, dividing supplies in half, and dividing our time and attention in half.

Just like the outcome of a piece of torn paper, it’s going to turn out the way it’s going to turn out, no matter how much thought and planning was put into it. Each separate part is NOT going to turn out exactly the same as the other cleanly and the fear of judgement about the final result is real.

The hope is this: Just as some people who may not feel right about wasting perfectly good pieces of paper that have been torn in some way, or are uneven, we can still find value in it before we think of throwing it all out when it’s over.

Some may want to simply forget when this moment in time of crisis teaching and distance/hybrid learning approaches the end.

This is also the same moment to acknowledge everything that has been done behind the scenes to try to make it work, and that many pieces and parts although very different in many ways, are worth holding on to moving forward.

What is going to hold value for us now as we move forward? What are we going to let go of and what will we hold on to?

classroom, live in the now, racial justice, teaching

Anti-Racism: Reflecting on 15 Years of Being a Public Educator

The murder of George Floyd and the beginning of another historical life changing world event, a racial justice movement, occurred within the last 9 teaching days of the 2019-2020 school year.

The students in my third grade class and their parents may or may not have been expecting acknowledgement or a comment from their teacher about this turning point in our country. We were days away from the “celebration” of the end of an exhausting and traumatic year that was interrupted by the Covid-19 global pandemic.

Thoughts and words were shared within the classroom and the school communities during the last days of an unprecedented school year. Final goodbyes were said. Virtual hugs were given. Life went on into the transition to summer vacation.

Words.

The words that we share, read and hear, the ones that we choose to say or not to say make an impact. It may last for as long as a topic is trending. The impact of words might have the power and potential to resonate with us for however long we individually “survive” through this time in history.

The following are collections of some words that may have impacted and influenced educators in different ways over the last decade or so.

The last list, along with so many other words and names not mentioned yet, hold the power to change the narrative for educators and students.

What if these words and topics were addressed and used more frequently in structured and respectful conversations in the school setting, even at the elementary level?

What impact could these words and ideas have during weekly lesson planning, staff meetings, parent communication, and data analysis?

Would the conversations be uncomfortable?

How would students benefit from the use of these words and topics in their learning spaces?

Some teachers may agree that the topics from the first 3 word lists have always held a higher priority than the last one prior to May 25th, 2020. How important are they now, given the current state of the world?

Summer vacation during the time of Covid-19 invited many educators to get comfortably uncomfortable and take the journey of digging deep into the truths of racism.

What is one of the biggest and most important truths?

Having the choice to learn about racism is a privilege.

After the choice is made, words can either be used to try to keep things as “normal” as possible, or they can dramatically change the narrative.

Actions do speak louder, but the words are the place to start.