I know you are there. Staring at the screen wondering if students will “show up” today. I know you know how to do this, but it is unknown. I know there is a doubt in your ability and if you can really call yourself a teacher anymore.
There is a piece of the puzzle that is missing for you. This piece is at the core of why you do this thankless job day in and day out. You don’t feel like a teacher as you sit in your home office thinking about the chores to be done. The odd feeling of wanting to just watch Netflix in between meetings rather than sending out yet another email to connect with your students.
And that’s just it… You are missing the connection.
Connection of watching students understand concepts for the first time. Seeing their faces light up with “Oh, I get it now!”
Connection of conversations being had that go so much deeper than your lesson plan. Realizing your students can have deep thoughts and questions when given the opportunity.
The simple connection of taking daily attendance and being glad they made it to school today. Knowing they will get at least one hot meal, human interaction, and hopefully some laughter before they head home to an empty house.
The grief you are feeling over this is ok. Be in that grief for a moment and mourn the loss of not getting to say, “Goodbye,” “Good luck,” “Have a great summer,” and “Congratulations.” You became a teacher to see your students off onto their next adventure and prepare them to take that next step. This year you won’t be able to do that… and it sucks beyond anything else.
You pour out your life and soul for this job, and while the pay is terrible, the reward is seeing students succeed in the next phase of life. Student’s succeeding and thriving is your biggest payday.
The simple fact is as a teacher we crave the connection with our students and it is at the core of what we do on a daily basis. Just because you have to miss out on this for the rest of the year, doesn’t mean you are no longer the teacher you thought you were.
You can still kick ass at teaching online and make those connections with your students through the screen.
You can be the person that gives them something to laugh about that day, and check in to see if they were able to get lunch from a drop off location.
You can still tell them “Goodbye,” “Good luck,” “Have a great summer,” and “Congratulations.” As the year wraps up whether through a screen or a postcard.
You can still do your job and reach students. You can and I know you will. It’s what you were made to do. Don’t let this loss of identity as a teacher disappear. You’ve got this. Now, go be the teacher I know you are, your students are waiting.
A fellow teacher