I’m Not A Teacher: Pandemic Reflections

Hi, friends. Long time, no post. Back in March I thought, “Wow. Working from home I may actually have time to blog.” It never happened – a mix of not actually having that much time to think through all the stress, and feeling like I have absolutely nothing to share that hasn’t already been shared.

But here I am.

I scroll through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and just get more confused. “Give yourself grace!”, they say. Followed by all the things you SHOULD be doing. It’s been tough as someone who is always striving to be better. But what is better right now? I’ve never done this before. No one has. “Best practices” for teaching virtually during a pandemic change by the hour, based on the opinions of non-experts. We yet again come to the conclusion that every school district is different and every kid is different and there is no one-size-fits-all approach as much as we want that to be the case. Maybe I’m doing better today than I was 2 weeks ago, but is it fair to expect that I would be doing even as well as I was 3 months ago?

You may be confused by the title of this post after seeing that I do teach High School Spanish. Let me explain. It’s becoming clearer and clearer to me that I’m not a teacher. It’s my career. It has shaped my identity for many years now. But y’all…I’m NOT a teacher. I’m a person. I’m a wife. I’m a daughter. I’m a sister. I’m a friend. I’m a dog mom. I’m a chicken mom. I’m a hiker. I’m a runner. I’m SO MANY THINGS that are more important right now than being a teacher. Our kids are SO MANY THINGS that are more important right now than being a student.

PadnemicPortraitProject20-29
This is me. This is more important.

This doesn’t mean that I’ve abandoned my students, or that I’ve stopped doing good work. It means that it’s time to let other things come first, and to let go of unhealthy habits deriving from anxiety, control (perfectionism), and stress that I have used to cope with my job for years.

What is better right now? I’ve used the words “No.” and “Not right now.” at work more than I ever have, and that, my friends, is better for me.

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