Teachers, you didn’t sign up for this!
Your ability to shape how you teach this semester has been ripped out of your hands.
You can’t create your learning environment. The coronavirus has created it for you.
And to make matters worse, you have had no time to prepare for the new norm.
It’s not fair but it is what it is.
There will be a whole lot this semester that you will want to change but you can’t.
There will be a whole lot of things that you know could have been done better and you will be powerless to do anything about it.
Dear God, give our teachers a downright miraculous amount of patience this year.
Show them how to let things slide off their back.
Remind them that the cards were stacked against them from day one this quarter and any mishaps, snafus, or downright negligences on their part are not their fault.
Give them an uncanny ability to let chips fall and move on, to admit shortcomings but not let them get under their skin, to give up on perfection and major on baby steps.
Grant them the stamina to keep learning how to adapt and morph even after they are adapted- and morphed-out.
Recall to their minds, through the technological glitches and protocols that change by the day, why they chose this profession in the first place; may they remember how much they love kids.
May they through this Valley Forge semester come out with a deeper love for teaching than they’ve ever known, a deeper understanding of the struggles of their students than they thought possible, and an unparalleled resilience.
Medical workers, grocery story clerks, look out! Make way for the new frontline workers!
Students, you didn’t deserve this!
What were you supposed to do, be born in a different year?
KIndergarteners sitting in front a screen for 6 hours? Observing someone else do a science experiment? Sports – online? These are concepts hard to take seriously.
All those promises about a great, engaging, interactive, stimulating, hands-on, collaborative education? Dubious at best.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this. But here we are.
Dear God, pour out the gift of perseverance to our kids this semester.
May they hang in there against all odds.
Help them to remember that their teachers couldn’t possibly have been prepared for this and they really are doing the best they can.
Cut them a lot of slack, God. They need all of it.
May they accept what comes their way and not get upset about it.
May they be able to laugh with their teachers when things go awry.
May they not take things personally when opportunities fall through.
And may they learn. A lot. Maybe not just what’s in their books but about systems, about their parents, about their families, about the world, about crisis. About themselves.
Administrators, you’re getting the short end of this stick!
Let’s face it: there is no way to come out of this semester the heroes.
In every crisis there’s a scapegoat and unfortunately you are poised as the most likely candidate.
How could you put together a perfect plan in record time without a single model or blueprint for such a pandemic?
It was a lose-lose situation – what were you to do?
Dear God, may we have mercy on our administrators.
Help us not to blame them.
Help us to remember they are human beings and no mortal soul could have designed a perfect solution this semester.
Help them to keep their heads in the game, to keep working at it, to not give up, to be compassionate toward their teachers, to find workable fixes, and to accept good-enough as better than nothing.
Give them a lot of grace this semester.
Parents, this is going to be a marathon!
No semester of teaching will ever throw as many curve balls, be as ridden with guffaws, and feel as confusing as this one.
Many of you are juggling jobs and now day care – both full-time.
Many of you have become unpaid teachers in your own right.
Many of you have had to do the impossible.
And most of you are so done with this virtual education you’re ready to scream.
Dear God, give our parents super-human endurance.
Show them how to create sustainable homes that can stay the course month after month.
Give them creativity and imagination to juggle the three-ring circuses they are forced to call normal.
Help them to forgive their teachers for education that will seem so sub-par.
Help them remember that just going through this pandemic will be education enough for their kids – a once-in-a-lifetime, hands-on learning experience.
Remind them that all they really need to do for their families for the next six months is just be there, just show up, just be present. That’s all that really matters.