Summertime for teachers is usually a time to reflect, relax and recharge. If the year ends well, we are excited and energized. If it didn't end so well, we breathe a sigh of relief, learn from challenges and mistakes, and move forward in the hopes of a better year.
|Image by Walkerssk from Pixabay|
But this summer is different.
Covid has turned our world upside down. Campuses closed, we taught remotely and ended the year unlike any other with no traditional celebrations and graduations. Remote teaching had us working harder than ever, and it was exhausting - physically, mentally and emotionally. It's also a little disheartening. Despite our best efforts, engagement was low, with some students disconnecting as soon as schools closed, especially once they learned of standardized testing cancellations. And the uncertainty of it all is nerve-racking. We can reflect but we are not sure what to plan for.
This year I realized that while I'm officially an educator, I'm really more of a farmer.
No, I don't live on a farm and have no connection to the farming industry. I've lived in the suburbs for most of my life, although I did live in a rural, farming community for over 15 years - a place I consider my adopted hometown. Even so, no one who knows me personally would ever describe me as a farmer. Not even close. I don't own a garden. I don't do much landscaping. I don't even have the slightest hint of a green thumb. Everything I've ever planted without the help of my dear husband has died. So why would I consider myself a farmer?
Like a farmer, I plant and I (sometimes) reap. Farmers deal with unpredictable weather, land conditions, pest infestations, and other uncontrollable factors that can adversely affect even the most skilled agriculturist. Likewise, even the most accomplished educator will encounter challenges beyond her control. From poverty to peer pressure to politics, there's so much that can throw off learning. Add a global pandemic and social justice issues to the mix and you have nothing short of a perfect storm. And although we know it takes time to reap and we may never see the fruits of our labor, we always hope to see growth.
We ended the school year in an unexpected, unprecedented way, and we move forward to a post-COVID season full of uncertainty and anticipation. Like a farmer, we take the good with the bad and if the season didn't go as expected, we pick ourselves up, sow again and never lose hope.
Stay well, stay strong and stay positive, my friends. Rather than fret about the unknown, let's be present in the moment and seize the day. I truly believe good things will come of this experience.