If I learned anything from last year is that a lot can happen in such a short time. Recently, I had to manage and learn how to survive an unexpected blizzard in the middle of Texas! Everything can change within a day- the way you live your life, the way you think, and the way you see things. Perspective can change almost instantly.
It’s why I decided to write a continuation to the blog that I wrote back in September. Reading it now, I think I was too optimistic (which surprises me due to always being a negative Nelly) about how I began the school year and my hopeful thoughts about it. While I remain somewhat optimistic, I also feel that my views on the matter have evolved since then. We are already halfway into the school year. A year since it has entered our lives, the coronavirus pandemic still plagues our lives today. We, as teachers, are facing an unprecedented school year where we still have to mostly focus on virtual teaching and wear PPE for students who come to class.
Of course, over the last few months, teachers have met many challenges. I feel like my teaching experience can be compared to Dorothy walking the yellow brick road. We want success. We want to head to Oz, but there are many obstacles in the way that try to prevent us from getting there. Pandemics and deadlines and student failures, oh my! We are required to have absolute knowledge of Zoom and programs like Schoology to help our students succeed. We have to learn to be flexible and meet these deadlines, especially with T-TESS, TELPAS, and standardized testing still being a priority. With all these demands piling on us, shouldn’t we be a priority as well?
I have had the opportunity to talk to several teachers across the state. A lot of them are ready to throw in the towel, which isn’t surprising since we have seen an increasing number of resignations nationwide. An old friend of mine from high school was telling me how frustrated she feels that teachers in the state aren’t seen as essential to receive the vaccine. She and her family recently contracted COVID, which may have been prevented if she had been eligible to get it.
Therefore, frustrations like these are what have made this working environment a stressful one. I feel safe with the PPE and the precautions I have received, but sometimes that isn’t enough. In my opinion, teachers deserve more, especially after all that we have had to endure this year. We deserve praise and a higher salary. We need to feel important enough to get a vaccine, so we won’t spread it to our students or members of our family.
I wish situations like these were simple and quick to remedy. Unfortunately, we do not have ruby slippers nor Glinda the Good Witch to help us. We need to fend for ourselves and learn to be a lot like Dorothy. To have the ability to persevere and be resilient even in difficult times. I’d still like to stress to anyone who is a teacher about the importance of taking care of your mental health. Don’t worry about how many sick days you have left because you are more important! You are a priority! If you need to leave that yellow brick road and take a nap, then do it! You can get back on it when you feel better.
Though, the optimist side of me still hangs on and follows that yellow brick road. This whole year is still a learning experience, and hopefully, we can put the past soon behind us. Whether we get the resources that we need or not, I still look forward to seeing Oz on the horizon.