Whether you love social media (#teachersofinstagram!), you hate it, or you are just plain sick of all the noise, teachers are using social channels to share the toll that pandemic teaching is taking. In the hardest year of our professional lives, sharing our vulnerability and keeping it real is the best way we can support each other. Teachers are often optimists, skilled at putting on a happy face, rolling up their sleeves, and soldering on. But at what cost? Thank you to all the teachers who are speaking up, sharing their experiences, and letting us all know that we aren’t the only ones who don’t know how much more we can take.
“Today I wanted to scream, cry, run, and hide all in the same moment”
It feels like we experience so many different emotions every day. One minute we think, “I’m doing ok,” and the next we are in tears. If you think you are the only one feeling all the feels, know that you aren’t alone. Pandemic teaching is an emotional rollercoaster.
“How we will survive a year like this?”
You are not the only one who has thought: “Dang — my students hate this right now. They are bored out of their minds. I am failing miserably. How will we survive a year like this?”
A teacher teaching virtually
— Dwayne Reed (@TeachMrReed) September 12, 2020
This is hard for us. It’s hard for our kids. It’s exhausting, and so many of us feel like we are failing miserably. You’re showing up. You’re doing the work. At the end of the day, you’re trying your best, and while it may not feel like that’s enough, it is.
“It’s OK to not be OK all the time”
So many of us are Type A. We are perfectionists who are really hard on ourselves. Thanks for the reminder. If you need to cry, cry. If you need to laugh, laugh. Take the nap if you need it. There’s no roadmap for pandemic teaching. You do you.
“We are humans. We can only do so much”
It’s hard to work 24/7 and still feel like you aren’t doing enough. Everyone seems to have an opinion about how teachers should do their jobs right now. Unless you’ve taught in a classroom, your feedback isn’t helpful! If you feel like you are at your wit’s end with pandemic teaching, know that you’re not the only one.
“I’m tired of having to defend my profession”
Yes, to all of this! Teaching is a job. We shouldn’t expect teachers to go above and beyond at the expense of their own health and well-being. And if you still love teaching but feel powerless right now and want change, we do too.
“I am struggling”
We couldn’t agree more. At first, teachers were called heroes as we scrambled to teach online. Then, we were asked to teach students in person and online at the same time. The anxiety of not knowing what we will be asked to do next is crushing.
“I feel like I am failing”
Teachers we cannot stay silent. *Edited to add this disclaimer for those who have asked me to make this public… I title this video a broken hearted teacher in the face of district mandated Online standardized testing during a pandemic: Let me be super clear, I thrive on data. Over the years, I have learned so much about my teaching abilities through reading my data, obtained through standardized testing. I read the results, I plan and prepare lessons for remediation and review based on my data. I review the standards that were tested and look at the scores. I dive deep into the state standard and discover what aspects I missed in my lessons. Where and How am I lacking and asking myself, “how can I do better?” Ask anyone who has ever worked with me in education, I am data driven and I take it serious. I truly value and understand the importance of data and the benefit of testing. My state test scores aren’t one of the absolute highest in the entire county for nothing. I succeed because of my hard work and dedication to my craft, collaboration with my civics team, data digging, and a whole lot of Jesus. With that being said, district pretests are the absolute least important thing on my plate right now. It’s unnecessary and puts additional weight on the shoulders of teachers and students who are already stressed to the max. So this video is not a lazy teacher crying that she has to give online students a pretest. It is so much more than that. Watch it in its entirety before commenting on it or judging me for sharing my vulnerable truth.
Posted by Terry Kinder on Thursday, September 10, 2020
It’s heartbreaking when we are asked to do things that aren’t best for us or our kids. How can we test students on something that they haven’t learned? Why are we treating this school year is if it is normal when it is anything but? Pandemic teaching isn’t normal teaching.
“My heart is so heavy”
At first, we thought this is hard, but we can manage for a while. Now, we are thinking, will this ever end? We are grieving, and we are going through all of the stages. Sometimes we are angry. Sometimes we are in denial. But always, we just want to give our kids the answers that they deserve.
“I’m exhausted. That’s all.”
We are tired. We are working harder than ever. It’s so easy to beat ourselves up. That’s why it is so important for us to talk about how we are feeling. It’s amazing how much better we feel when we tell the truth: pandemic teaching is hard.
“The lunch I don’t have time to eat”
Yup. This is teaching in 2020. We are stressed, pressed for time, and consider ourselves lucky if we manage to actually eat lunch let alone wash our hair! I don’t know what I’d do without dry shampoo.
“Last week I felt as if I was drowning”
Piles of papers. A messy desk. Thank you for keeping it real, and reminding us to listen to our bodies. It’s easier said than done, but we have to take care of ourselves.
“A new kind of teacher tired”
Teaching in an entirely new way with entirely new tools during an unprecedented global pandemic is physically and mentally exhausting. If you are going to sleep at 8:00 on a Saturday, us too!
Social media is usually a highlight reel. We share pictures of our beautiful classroom, our well-organized planner pages, and our successful assignments. While I love getting ideas from other teachers on social, this year what we need most is what’s usually not pictured: teachers getting real about pandemic teaching is the hardest thing they’ve done. When we share our vulnerability with each other, it helps us feel less alone.
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Plus, check out Check In On Your Teacher Friends, Because We Are Not OK.