|Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash|
Oh how I have missed you! I've missed your noise and your chaos and your smiles which are hidden behind masks, and your laughter and your hard work, and even your frustrations and tears. I have missed your creativity and how you never cease to amaze me with it. I have missed your fearlessness and your fearfulness, your good choices and your not-so-good ones. I have missed you because without you, there is no school.
Many people who don't know much about what you and I do together call you 'lost'. But, you are not lost. Far from it! All of you who have diligently showed up on Zoom every day have been working so hard learning how to use computers and software in ways we teachers never imagined. You've been taking more responsibility for your learning, working independently, and learning from this global experience!
Some of you have really struggled with this, and I want you to know that you are not alone. So many other students and, yes, even teachers (myself included), are struggling too. This is not easy work we are doing. It's really hard sitting in front of a computer for hours on end, not being able to talk to friends or eat together in the cafeteria or enjoy assemblies or play at recess.
And to those of you who have not been with us, you are not 'lost' either. You have always been in our hearts. You have always been on our minds. We have always been searching for you, and hoping to see your face once again. We've been reaching out to you. We've been trying our best to find you and bring you back. We know you've been home, we know you've been struggling. We know your families have been struggling, too. This is all so hard.
But you will survive—all of you will. In fact, you will do more than just survive. You will thrive because we, your teachers, will help you, because that's our job.
We will not let you fall. We will hold you up and lift you up and support you in any way we can. And just like any child who has suffered from a debilitating, devastating disease—one so terrible that they couldn't even work with a tutor—you will come back. And you will be strong and you will be healthy and you will be knowledgeable. You will know how to read and write and do math. You will know how to make art and music and play sports. You will know how to speak another language—maybe not fluently, but you will learn. You will know how to do all the things you hope and dream to do. You just have to believe in yourself, believe that we will help you, and be willing to put in the effort.
You know, for a long time, those people who don't know much about what we do have been trying to stuff your heads with all sorts of information that maybe you're just not ready for yet. They want you to read and write and do math and take tests before many of you even know how to tie your shoes! That's crazy! Maybe the one good thing that will come out of this pandemic is that they will stop trying to force-feed you and just let us, your teachers, meet you where you are.
We are almost done with this crazy school year, and many of you will be coming back to school before the end of this month! I am so excited! We will get through this together. There will be laughter, fun, excitement and learning. You will see your friends and share your experiences, and little by little, we will leave that nasty Covid-19 in the dust. If you're feeling stressed, anxious or worried, know that you are not alone and you will have a lot of support. You are stronger than you realize and braver than you think. And I am so proud of you!