When schools closed their buildings in this state on March 20, 2020, little did we know how long the effects of the pandemic and our response to it would last.
Sadly, we are still reeling from the politicized reactions of COVID-19.
I can’t speak for all teachers, but I can honestly say that we have not stopped as educators since this pandemic started. We went from in-class to virtual in a matter of days. Then we spent the summer of 2020 learning platforms to allow for both in-person and virtual classes to be taught simultaneously.
The 2020 – 2021 school year brought the teaching profession under the largest microscope in my career. There was social unrest, a contentious national election, and many people all of a sudden became experts in education contradicting science. It continued throughout the following summer as we had blind accusations of indoctrination, more budget battles, and hightened attacks on the teaching profession and the role of public schools.
As 2021 – 2022 brought students back into school buildings, with them came the expectation that things would go back to normal quickly. That was not the case. Under the pressure of combating “learning loss” and “summer slides,” educators were holding school communities together academically, emotionally, psychologically, and mentally all while attacks concerning CRT and banning books were mounting in school board meetings.
Teachers saw new “reforms” being proposed that had all of the markings of backdoor negotiations between non-educators andf lawmakers. There were endless sessions of online professional development that had to be completed during a teacher’s free time as duties seem to double in a short time.
Teachers have been suggested to carry weapons in the wake of more school shooting massacres. Those same teachers have also been told they should not pick the books to be read in their classrooms because of impressionable students.
Teaching became the most visible and most politically polarizing occupation in the American landscape and that has correlated with extremely high vacancies in schools and a potentially record teacher (and teacher candidate) shortage in history.
Teachers so deserve any summer break available to them this year. They deserve it every year, but most are working on their own time to get ready for the next school year.
But this summer is different. It’s time for us to take care of ourselves.
And begin to heal from the last 27 months.