Nobody prepared me for this. Upon graduation, I was chomping at the bit. I was ready to be set free in a classroom of my own with all the tools and strategies equipping me to make a difference and empower students to learn. I was told about all the technology and resources I could access for learning (as a tool, but not replacing the classroom teacher, they said). Nobody prepared me for this.
I threw myself into the work and the experience with everything I had. Nobody told me it would break my body. Before the end of my first semester, I would be diagnosed with an autoimmune disease and put on immunosuppressives. Nobody told me that at some point, this point, giving my students a hug would risk my health.
I was always told that there would be some days at school that you would just want to cry. I was told to find a space away from students to let that happen. Nobody told me that I would cry over my students, not because of things they said or did, but because I didn’t get to say goodbye. The Class of 2020 was the first group of students I really learned how to be a teacher with. I knew them as freshmen during my internship and sophomores in my very first independent classes. When they graduate, whatever that looks like, they won’t have the culminating experiences of their K-12 years in the way they imagined it. I rely on their experiences with prom, graduation, senior banquets and senior nights to help close the chapter, find closure, celebrate and cry with them. Now I cry without them.
Nobody prepared us.
Whatever life experience you are coming from, nobody prepared you. We were called to teach and to make a difference. This situation, while calling from an unknown number, is asking the same from us. Let it teach the value of human kindness and learning adaptability before the standards. Let it teach us that we are not alone, even in isolation. We can get through this. I can tell you that.
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