There is one thing we can all agree on: teachers are done. We’re done with the pandemic and done with waiting for the return of normal. We’re done feeling exhausted physically, mentally, and emotionally.
With the end of the school year just days away, it’s time for one more vent—you know, the kind of vent you do in a single breath at the end of one of those days. Rest assured, this read will leave you with a sigh of relief and a belief in better days to come.
Educators are often the first to be critiqued and the last to be thanked. The past pandemic year has been no different. We’re done being the world’s punching bag for something we had no control over. We have had it up to here with being criticized by people who have no expertise in education or experience in a classroom. Being told to “just keep going” or “stay positive” in unprecedented territory? That cheerleading falls flat.
We are tired of being held to the same standard of traditional teaching in a world where nothing about it is traditional. We’re done being given every excuse in the book for how and why our lessons can’t be completed at home. We are done being confronted with media headlines spewing the falsity that this past year was a waste. We’re done doing double the work for the same amount of pay. We’re done hearing people say that virtual teaching is like a paid vacation.
From Venting to Celebrating Every Victory
As completely and utterly done as we may feel, it’s time we acknowledge the flip side. The flip side of done is all of the unthinkable obstacles we have hurdled. All of the days we made it through despite thinking we didn’t have it in us. For starters, we continued educating our kids amidst a global pandemic (that should be enough to feel accomplished, don’t you think?!).
- Created a space (virtually, socially distanced, or otherwise) for children to embrace something familiar—even when familiarity was nowhere else to be found.
- Turned our own homes into classrooms.
- Taught ourselves, in some cases overnight, how to provide fully virtual instruction on platforms we barely knew how to use ourselves.
- Offered parent tutorials on how to access student work from a device they’d never logged into.
- Engaged in conversations with parents and students filled with tears offering assurance and encouragement even when our own tanks ran on empty.
- Gave up time with our own families to plan engaging virtual learning experiences.
- Drove around towns to say hello from six feet apart to remind our kids that we missed them as much as they missed us.
- Taught classes that included growing rosters of family pets, enamored stuffed animals, and different four walls in every virtual box that filled our screens.
- Maintained consistency amidst chaos.
- Encouraged the truest belief that things will get better.
- Kept going when the world around us stopped spinning.
And that, that is the flip side of being done.
Make Your Own We’re Done Manifesto
Now it’s your turn to vent. Create your own “I’m Done” Manifesto with this template. Get it all out—and I mean all of it. Once you’ve named everything you have conquered, you’ll be confident you earned whatever indulgence suits your fancy.
Use the template with students. Fill it out as an interactive class discussion or hand out a copy to each student, provide some time for personal reflection, and then come together as a class to share ideas and find the commonalities amongst the crowd. However you choose to use it, make sure students see the flip side with all they’ve accomplished this year.
Do you feel the same way, that teachers are done? Share in the comments below!
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