By: Dana Romualdi As a teacher in Canada, we will be heading back to school this week. As a nation and entire world much to our dismay we are not yet where we had hoped to be with the war on Covid 19 and getting back to what is deemed a more “normal” way of life or school year. This is not anyone’s fault. We have been diligently sanitizing, wearing masks, keeping our distance and trying to follow the new rules faithfully. Despite that, this virus still rages. I remember in June looking at my unique set of class rules for this past year including: no sharing of anything, stay six feet apart, stay with only our class at recess and always wear a mask except when eating. At the time I threw this list in the recycle with pleasure. I felt I did my part to keep myself and my students safe, but was so relieved that this new school year would be different. These new rules were crucial to our success at school and I naively assumed that this would be a one-year situation of needing them.
Well, here we are 18 months into the pandemic, and it is so discouraging with Covid numbers rising and the Delta Variant now also being a great cause for concern. Despite all this, school is still starting this week and we are pressing on. I know parents’ hearts are heavy and conflicted as they wrestle with knowing their kids are excited to go back to school and see their friends but at the same time are concerned about their safety and what the future holds. I totally get it. I feel it too. I am a parent as well and I want you to know what is on my heart right now.
I love the lyrics of the song called It’s Ok by Nightbirde who was featured on American’s Got Talent. The chorus says “It’s Ok, It’s Ok, It's Ok, It's Ok! If you’re lost, we’re all a little lost and that’s alright!” I thought, how perfect? None of us have this all figured out, but guess what? We will figure it out together. We have concerns today and we will address them as they arise and take one day at a time. Some of you have chosen an online option right from the start and that is a choice that you thought about very carefully. Each family has decided what is best for their family and we support you. There are lots of mixed emotions about school starting and that is perfectly o.k. and very normal.
We love your child too!
Your child is very important to us. He or she is more than a name on a class list or a mere student in a class of 25. We grow to care so deeply for them. They become an irreplaceable part of our class family and hold a very special place in our hearts for years to come. We love them “big, big, big” as one of my sweet students would say. We love to see them grow and change and grasp new learning. We feel their pain when they are hurting and want to see each one of them feel loved and appreciated. Our time with them is short as they travel through the grades, but we have especially that one school year when they are in our classrooms to really come alongside them as their cheerleader and guide. I feel the weight of that and don’t want to waste any time that they are considered “mine.” They are on my class list for a reason. When we call them our kids it’s because we feel it and we really mean it.
Your child’s well-being is our priority right now.
Please do not stress too much if your child is behind. As much as we are concerned that students may or may not be academically where they should be, we are much more concerned about their emotional and physical well-being right now. It is our goal to address this first and foremost and the academics will follow. When your child feels safe, comfortable and loved at school, the right environment is set for his or her success. This is a very unique situation we are all experiencing right now and we are very mindful of that.
We are partners now more than ever. As we have moved through this pandemic, I have never felt so close to parents as I do now. Many teachers have expressed the same feelings to me about the wonderful parental support felt this year. Parents you have been total rock stars! You have gone above and beyond and this year will be no different; I am sure. It is critical to your child’s success, and we are so grateful parents for all you have done to support your child and their teachers. We will navigate this upcoming year together. We want you to feel free to reach out to us with your questions and concerns and we will do all we can to help your child succeed this year as always. It takes a village they say to raise a child and we are all on the same team.
This is not forever.
There is such a thing as “covid fatigue” and many of us are feeling it big time right now. We are tired of the world as we know it at present. Be encouraged though that this version of life and school with all these unique rules, regulations and concerns is not forever. This too shall pass. There will be an eventual light at the end of the tunnel, and we will cross the finish line together. Keeping that in mind is very critical because when you are in a situation that is different and unpredictable, it feels at times like it may never end.
So parents, put your masks on and please hang in there. We see you. We hear you and we are there for you!
Until next time, ~ Dana
Little Lesson Learned: This new school year may have some surprises, ups and downs and twists and turns but know that you are not alone.