As a parent and a teacher, this is a difficult time to navigate. It is hard for children to understand that they can’t just do whatever they want because school is out. There is learning to do, there are people to keep from getting sick, some people are sick and don’t know it, and we can’t just go through the drive-thru for lunch.
The average family is experiencing a life they never imaged – job loss, needing to go to food banks to feed the kids, as well as worries about losing the family car and home. On the positive side, people are spending time with their families playing games, doing crafts, going outside and riding bikes, reading, baking, and learning new technologies like Zoom and Microsoft Teams to stay in touch with friends and family. Thanks to Facebook Live and other platforms, churches are reaching more people than ever before. Many people are reading their Bibles everyday or just starting to explore the Bible.
This is a time to slow down and figure out what is important to you. Is it a job that keeps you working 14-hour days, 7 days a week or is it your spouse and kids? Is it a house and car you can’t really afford, so you have to work all those hours or is it living within your means, so you can spend more time with your family? Many of us and reevaluating our lives.
And then there are teachers. We are happy to be spending time with our families, but many of us are trying to teach our own kids as well as our students. We are worrying if our students have enough food, if the student who was just placed in foster care is adjusting to their new family, if the student who is in an abusive home is being checked on by DCS, as well as are our students reading and practicing their math skills.
So many schools across the country are like my state and are out for the rest of the year. Not being with my students the past few months as been relaxing, stressful, and surreal. Like many teachers, my heart is breaking.
A Message to My Students:
I knew it was coming, but I had hope that it wouldn’t. As I sit here a bit numb and stunned, I am having a hard time processing that the school year is over and I won’t see you again. I keep thinking, “Is this really happening?”, “This is just a bad dream, right?”, and “Surely, I didn’t hear correctly.” We have spent the last three years going through middle school together. You aren’t just students to me, you are my kids.
I told you on the first day of 6th grade that once you are in my class you are my kid. I told you on the first day of 7th grade, once you are in my class you are my kid. And to the few of you who never had me in 6th or 7thgrade, one the first day of 8th grade I told you once you are in my class you are one of my kids. You are my “daughters” and “sons.” I worry about you making poor choices, not having someone tell you that you are loved, that you won’t have enough food, and if you will have someone to listen to your questions and help guide you.
I am grieving with you that we won’t have a track season, awards day, Honors Society ceremonies, 8th grade dance, yearbook signing, talent show, teacher/student basketball game, and one last day to tell you how proud I am of you and you are loved. This all seems surreal. I keep thinking this will all end, and we will have one more day together.
One more day to hear, “Hey Mrs. Preston!” One more day to hear about your weekend. One more day to remind you to “live in the penthouse, not in the basement.” One more day to tell you corny jokes that you roll your eyes at. One more day to see your smiling faces. Just one more day with you is what I need.