Firstly I want to introduce myself: Hey, I’m Emily. I’m also known at Mrs. Woods to my students. I work at a middle school as an ed assistant. I know that role looks differently at variously schools, but basically what I do is work one on one with kiddos. Kiddos with all different needs, and who are at all different levels. I move from class to class with kids as well as working in a learning center. This is my first year teaching, and let me tell you… I love my job. I LOVE MY JOB. I love being with the kids, and being in school, and helping people learn, and getting back to learning myself. For me, school is a magical place.
When the schools shut down I was devastated. And truthfully, I wasn’t quite sure what to do with myself. Figuring out how to stay connected to my students, and continue to help them learn has been so. hard. Knowing how lost I initially felt, I can’t even begin to imagine how the families of my students are feeling. Every single household has been flipped on its damn head. People are now expected to teach their kids, while relearning the material themselves, navigating 101 platforms to receive the materials, keep kids entertained when they’re not working on school work, while still trying to work their jobs, and keep everyone alive all at the same time. I mean holy shit (I promise I don’t cuss at school) you guys. That’s SO MUCH to have dropped in your lap with no notice. Like BAM. Here’s your new lifestyle. Figure it out.
Something that my principal has emphasized is connection over content. Expecting every kiddo to complete every assignment on time, and done perfectly is INSANE right now. Or the idea that kids and their families are spending a full 7 hours a day doing schoolwork while at home? WHAT. Absolutely not. I know that kids and their families have been putting this crazy pressure on themselves when it comes to schooling. And I think we all need to throw that right out the window. Yes. School is important. Learning is important. But the overall mental and physical health of our community is priority #1. It’s so important to take the time to figure out what a healthy learning environment looks like for YOUR FAMILY. And YOUR KID. Whether that’s hosting English class outside, or combining Science and Art class (which is one of my favorite things). Healthy learning looks differently for everyone, AND THAT’S OK. I am confident that every single one of your kids teachers feel the same way.
You are all rockstars. You are amazing. You are doing the job of 100 right now. And believe me I know it’s hard. And I know that there’s wine in that coffee mug. It is VITAL that you show yourself grace. Give yourself permission to just roll with it. Take the pressure off. And if it all starts feeling like too much, TAKE A BREAK. Go outside for a walk, take a bath, watch a movie, journal, read, bake muffins, LITERALLY ANYTHING. Refresh, reset, and start again when you’re ready. No one is doing this perfectly. And we are all stumbling through this shit show together. Remember to nurture the connection and the content will follow. Let’s take this opportunity to be cheerleaders in our own community. Let’s stay connected, band together and make the most of this time. Keep your head up and remember that you are doing the very best that you can. WE’VE GOT THIS!