A Salute on Teacher Appreciation Week 2020
It’s May, 2020. Teacher Appreciation Week is upon us... Where are the words??
During this global pandemic, you shifted on the turn-of-a-dime. There simply is not a way to properly express “appreciation” for what you’ve done for our students.
My daughter’s teacher happened to made a social media post last night, expressing a sense of “going back to zoom school” anxiety she now experiences on Sundays.
She was asking if other teachers are also experiencing it and was looking for some coping strategies. So, here’s my salute of support to her, and to you…
In the video above, I briefly share about the virtual learning program Brian & I launched this school year (2019-2020) and how it was the STEEPEST learning curve we’ve *ever* encountered! We had two years to prepare. We partnered with our local public school district’s virtual academy. And yet, it was STEEP.
So steep, we didn’t have the time or energy to take our Christmas tree down before the pandemic hit!
All of this to say… what you’ve been doing/experiencing these past two months -with ZERO WARNING- is nothing short of a miracle! It’s really all beyond words, so please watch the video to catch a bit more of the “nonverbal” sentiment. <3
(I also shared that we are currently preparing several FREE “how to manage virtual learning” resources, in the advent that virtual learning extends past this school year. We compiled everything we wish we had known prior to beginning our adventure this year into user-friendly videos and checklists. They’re currently in production; we’ll share with you as soon as they are ready.)
Finally, here is the social media post/response between my daughter’s teacher and myself from last night… the Sunday eve of Teacher Appreciation Week:
TEACHER: It’s Sunday and the “going back to zoom school” anxiety is starting again. I say this knowing how fortunate I am to work from home, knowing that I have the best group of kids in the world to work with, and having a wonderfully supportive school community … and yet, zoom anxiety. Are other teachers feeling this way? If so, do you have any coping strategies to share? I’ve always loved going back to school on Mondays. This is a really new thing for me.
ME: Perhaps it could be more “grief” than “anxiety”?
This whole situation was such an abrupt shift. No precedent. Completely jarring.
…and you are soooo *connected* with your students! Starting last June, you’ve been diving DEEP to create the most meaningful experience for your students. I saw and FELT your heart all over your room on Curriculum Night. I knew I was witnessing the results of hundreds of hours of work… And that was before school even started!
Then, just as you get to the crescendo of the year, your heart was suddenly and ruthlessly yanked from all that gives it meaning! 💔
The “Sunday” anticipation may likely be making the loss a bit more tangible, yet perpetually just out of grasp. Your poor soul simply cannot comprehend what was yanked out from under it.
Consciously, we talk ourselves into focusing on the positive bc we know anything else could be a backward spiral. But, the loss is real, too. And, it’s still so very raw.
We’re all still “ringing” from the gong! Yet, the demands to “keep the learning going” have given no time for processing or proper grieving. Plus, stacked on top of this gigantic loss are layers of fear and uncertainty and “new normals” that have completely replaced the safety of “routine.”
I used to work with a life-coach that was an expert in managing grief. He always advocated for “extreme self-care” in the midst of grief: extra sleep, warm baths, massages, comfort foods enjoyed with the mindfulness of healing…TONS of extra physical care and comfort.
I know we can’t go for massages right now, but after my coach sent me for a massage to help with grief, I’ve often given gift-certificates to friends/family who’ve experienced a loss, explaining how our bodies hold grief and that the massage is to work out the “physical grief.” It’s a MAJOR shift. My friends/family have raved about what a difference it makes in taking off the most oppressive weight. (If you ever do this, tell the masseuse it’s a “grief massage,” so they’re not alarmed when the waterworks flow!)
Since massages are impossible right now, the best you can do is give yourself permission for lots of extra self-care, however you can get it in a way that is meaningful to you. (Personally, I have found warm baths to be almost as therapeutic.)
As a GRATEFUL parent of one of your students, I absolutely am giving you my blessing to put your oxygen mask on, first. Perhaps a shortened school week or shortened days. (Or both.) Naps in the middle of the day… Anything that will you bring you extra physical comfort. Whatever it takes! This is, after-all, a global pandemic that surpasses even Biblical proportions! So, nothing is unreasonable.
Of course, I may be incorrectly projecting on the “grief.” But, I’m still advocating for tons of extra self-care for you and all teachers!
Finally, I’m so so so so grateful for all you’ve invested in my kiddo… before and since the pandemic! 💞 FWIW, if we had to go through this, I’m glad it’s with you. Sure, I’d rather see M in school with you. But, she has a teacher who’s heart transcends the distance and she’s not lost any sense of connection, which is the BIGGEST blessing for us! It’s one more thing to grieve that you can’t witness that feedback in real-time. Yet, that doesn’t make it any less real.
This will pass. But, it must also be grieved.
LOTS of self-care to you! 😘
…and, to ALL of you! God bless you on this most unusual of Teacher Appreciation Weeks.
With deep respect and gratitude,
Susan Kruger, M.Ed.