I have been MIA for a little bit because we made a last-minute decision to head to South Carolina to visit family one more time before the crazy life of virtual school and cheer begins. We practiced a little social distancing but got to see everyone at least for a little bit. I do have to admit that social distancing in South Carolina vs. social distancing where we live is night and day. At home, you rarely see anyone without a mask, and stores and restaurants are fairly empty. Down there, people were hanging out together in groups, not wearing masks, and stores and restaurants were crowded. Schools had been in session for a couple of weeks and were in person. We started school here today, and it is 100% virtual. It’s just a totally different mentality, I guess. It makes it hard to know which way is the right way. Despite the differences, we had a great time and were hopefully cautious enough. I despise the long drive to and from every time, but it was worth it to get to spend time with the ones we love. My one regret was that I didn’t take a single picture! I guess that means I was just living in the moment.
As I mentioned, school started for my girls today. It is certainly not a normal first day of school by any stretch of the imagination with school being 100% virtual for the foreseeable future. I did make them get up early and get dressed despite the grumbles I got. We shall see how long that lasts. I also made them go on the porch for a first day of school picture, which they said was pointless and dumb. Then, I was forbidden to take a picture of them at their computers!! Got to love this age! I mean, I have to get at least one, right? I have to post them along with just about everyone else I know today, right? No, they weren’t in their usual cute first day of school outfits, but it is still a momentous day. It is hard to believe that I have a junior and a 7th grader. Where has the time gone? I have no idea how long virtual school will last or if or when things will ever get back to normal. I just pray that my oldest child’s last 2 years of high school aren’t ruined because of this virus. I really do hope that they will be able to go back to school and enjoy the traditions and rights of passage that come with these last few years of school. I do like the fact, though, that I didn’t have to do any back to school shopping this year. We didn’t buy new school supplies as my “school supply collection” from overbuying during my 17 years of teaching provided the majority of things they needed. I haven’t bought them new clothes in a while either because they have been barely getting dressed for months. I figure at some point we will need to do some clothes shopping. Maybe for Christmas???
I know that this school year isn’t like anyone wants or cares for, but it is the card we have been dealt. We might as well make the best of whatever our situation may be. My heart is with teachers all over the country, whether it is their first day or 15th day. I can’t imagine the stress you are all under. While I am not in the trenches with you anymore, I know that your hearts are hurting for your students and that you are giving it every ounce of energy you’ve got trying to meet the needs of every student. Give yourself some grace and try to remember to spend a little time on you in the midst of it all. Trust me, I know that is easier said than done, but it is important. I was never good at that and it is part of why I am no longer teaching. I don’t want you to burn out like I did. You’ve got this and you will get through it. Who knows? Maybe it will turn out to be your best year yet! No matter what, you are all deserving of Teacher of the Year this year!
Parents, I encourage you to also give yourself grace. I know this is hard for you too. I know you are juggling a million different hats, and you are stressed to the max. You can do it too. When you are frustrated or discouraged, take some time to walk away, take some deep breaths, and then jump right back in with a smile on your face. You’ve got this! I also need you to give grace to all the teachers working overtime to meet the needs of your child. It isn’t their fault that the technology is not working. It isn’t their fault we are in this situation. They are just doing their best. The only way to get through this is together…you, your child, and your child’s teachers. You have to support each other or we will never make it over this mountain before us. We are all in this together.
This year isn’t going to be easy for anyone, but we can get through it together with a little bit of patience, grace, and a whole lot of prayer. We can do it!