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4/1 Reflections of a Hopeful Educator

August 1st, 2019. Seems like it was years ago. We packed ourselves into Northridge High School’s gymnasium. We reunited with colleagues, friends, and leaders. We waved our cell phone flashlights in the air singing “teach like a champion.…” We listened as Dr. Daria cast a vision for the upcoming school year. We heard the phrase “high expectations” dozens (nay, hundreds?) of times. We did all of these things not knowing what March of 2020 would have in store for us. 
goggins What I remember most from that day are the feelings. First, annoyance. Why did my alarm have to be that loud at 5:00 in the morning? Like it was mad about being silenced for two months. Next, relief. There’s something about stepping back into a familiar (albeit stressful) routine that brings peace. Then, sadness. The end of summer break is something worth briefly mourning in my opinion. After sadness comes anxiety. For me, August 1st signified the official start of a new role at a new school along with a 10 minute, gif-laced, Beyonce-themed speech on high expectations that would be given from memory in front of 1,500+ people. After that, hope. The blank slate that a new school year brings allows for the hope of something greater than ever before. 

On Friday, March 13th, as I watched Governor Kay Ivey announce a two and half week school closure in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, all of these same feelings began to creep back in. Some louder than others. And by Thursday, March 26th at the announcement that the closure would extend through the rest of the school year, these feelings were back in full force.

Now, as I sit on my bed (A.K.A. at my desk), I am annoyed. Annoyed with the coronavirus. Annoyed with the media. Annoyed with social distancing. Annoyed with the people that seem to be handling all of this better than me. I am relieved. Relieved that I was not tasked with making that massive decision. Relieved that our students and staff will not be put at risk by reassembling in our school buildings this year. I am sad. Sad about the loss of the school year. Sad for our seniors. Sad about not seeing smiling students’ faces as often as I would like. I am anxious. Anxious about the issue of equity. Anxious about my health and my family’s health. Anxious about our students’ physical and emotional needs being met. Anxious about the impact this will have on student’s learning in the school years to come. 

But even still, I am hopeful. I am hopeful for the greatness that educators will demonstrate through this unprecedented time. I am hopeful for the professional growth that we as teachers and leaders will experience through this challenge. I am hopeful for the innovative ways that we will find to connect with our students in spite of a mandated separation. I am hopeful for the joy of the reunion when we get to come together again. I am hopeful that we will come back stronger and better than before.


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By Rachel Goggins