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This is NOT Normal!

This has been a long year, anyone who says differently doesn’t have kids.

I am a wife, a mother, a daughter, and a teacher. I have felt the stress of isolation in so many different ways.

Parents are frustrated because they don’t have training to be a teacher, and yet they are finding themselves sitting next to their children feeling like teachers, and probably feeling inadequate. Parents have so many other things that make us feel inadequate, and this is probably the hardest one yet. I was talking with a parent of my son’s friend recently and she expressed to me that she thought I was lucky to be both a teacher and a parent. I stopped for a minute and reflected on that idea. I actually feel like it is harder, because I have certain expectations for my children, and they are not the same expectations I have for my students. So from an outside perspective, it may seem like I have it easier, but I am not sure that is really the case.

There is not a single person who hasn’t been affected in some way by the COVID impact on education, and we all have our opinions on how to fix it, especially us parents. But it can’t be fixed, at least not quickly. This is not normal, but we keep thinking it is. When we are making decisions, we are using our background from the “normal” we were used to. I wonder if we stop thinking that this is normal, or should be normal, would we stop trying to fix it, and instead make it a new normal?

We are all mad at each other.

We are mad at our kids for making this hard for the family, we are mad at the schools for jumping between different types of schedules, for placing high expectations on our children, and expecting us to prepare for it all. If the teachers only knew what we were experiencing at home, and if parents only knew the expectations administrators are putting on teachers, and if everyone knew that school administrators are feeling pressure from state governments and community members. The reality is we do not - we have no idea what is happening outside of our own reality, and it makes it hard to understand why things are occurring.

I think it is time for all of us to step back and thank each other for all the sacrifices we are making to try and make this as normal as possible.

I thank all the parents out there for helping their children do school - even if it isn’t the school that teachers are asking the students to do - you are doing a GREAT job supporting them.

I thank all the teachers who are providing time and space to help students learn about things right now. Also the teachers who are realizing that students need us in a different way this year, and pivoting to provide that support. You are doing an AMAZING job every day!

I thank all the students who are trying every day to do learning in a totally new way, and really doing their best to meet all the expectations which have changed.

Have you told someone that you are proud of them for doing all of these things?

I am not sure I have, but I think that is what is missing: more love, more respect, and more understanding for all of us trying to navigate the change, and make it as normal as possible for those we serve.

But don’t forget - this is NOT normal. We should learn from this experience and take some of the lessons we have learned as we move forward.


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