This year is not "normal."
In 2020-21, many of us in education, whether students, teachers, parents or administrators, made it through the year thinking "well, at least next year will be back to normal!"
Here we are next year, and many are struggling more now than ever before.
We are back on track in a lot of ways, but there's been a shift. Most schools are still mandating masks. Many schools have had frequent COVID outbreaks, and even if they haven't gone back to remote learning, they're still missing a rotating group of people for a week or two at a time.
Students are struggling to get back into the routine of going to school 5 days a week, and many teachers are wondering why we're trying too hard to get back to a "normal" that wasn't working well for so many kids. Frankly, I think we're all dealing with some level of trauma, and for some, it's severe.
Personally, I've been holding my head above water trying to just keep swimming, swimming, like Dory from Finding Nemo. "Pull your mask up, and put your phone down" has been my mantra for the year.
So many students seem resentful that we're asking them to do any work at all because they've spent so much of the last year by themselves on their phones. Some miss the flexibility of being able to do work on their own time schedule. Others are happy to get back into the swing of their old lives.
I wish I had some magical answer to the struggles we're all facing. If you head to twitter, there are many 280-character insights far too simple to cover anything important. A lot of parents are showing up to school board meetings shouting, but I honestly don't think most of them are honestly informed or concerned about what's happening in schools. Many of them serve different agendas. Unfortunately, the schools in my state are so woefully underfunded that I don't see any massive change happening.
Just know that if you're struggling, you're not alone. Not at all. Hopefully we can lift each other up to improve the situation before we crack (or quit.) I'll try to get back to posting on this blog with any suggestions about strategies I see that are helping. In the meantime, deep breaths. We'll get there.