What will the Fall look like? That is the question everyone wants an answer too but there seems to be little guidance and what we do hear is all across the spectrum of possibilities. We, as teachers, like to be prepared. We spend the summer planning our themes, making new lesson plans, picking up classroom supplies and decorations. We buy new lesson planners, appointment planners, notepads, notebooks, pen, pencils, and any other office supply that catches our eye. Then of course we have the whole organizational realm of classroom shopping. I want to offer a radical piece of advice for this summer.
That’s right. Pause. Put down the credit card, step away from the dollar bin at Target, log off of Pinterest. What if this summer we just sit with the unknown? What if we allow ourselves to take rest and reflect on the last three months of the school year? What if we stop and get off the ever turning wheel of Fall possibilities? I will tell you what if…if we pause and reflect we will see what was truly important in these last three months and what will be of utmost importance in the coming school year.
These past months when we were forced to move to a virtual teaching climate we left behind all of the decorations, the cute pencils, the book cases, binders, folders, stickers, etc... Everything that we feel we “need” to be good teachers. Guess what? You don’t need it. It makes learning more fun. Absolutely. It makes our classrooms warm and welcoming. Absolutely. But, if we pause we will see that those items are not what is truly at the heart of our good teaching. Our excellent teaching. Relationships are at the heart of good teaching and each of you who transitioned, no matter how painful and difficult it was, remained excellent teachers. It wasn’t the reward charts; it was the stable presence you offered your students online every day. It wasn’t the bubbles handed out at recess; it was the conversations you had. It wasn’t the colorful posters; it was your familiar smile looking back at them in a time when so much was so unfamiliar. It was kindness, compassion, care. So although you may have left behind a lot of your stuff, you took the most important stuff with you. That which you carry with you always and everywhere.
So this summer, pause. Allow yourself to process these last months. Give your mind and body rest. Fall will come and when it does, no matter the format, rest well in the knowledge that with or without the extras, you are an excellent teacher!