A Sayville Mama & Teacher shared with us what she wants parents to know as we enter this uncharted territory, together.
As I sit in my room thinking about tomorrow being the last day of summer, a flood of emotion runs over me. This isn’t a new feeling at bedtime since the pandemic hit, but tonight’s emotions are different. All of my “what will I do in September?” questions have now been answered, and there’s no turning back. I am essentially at the peak of the roller coaster, and I have no choice but to throw my arms up and embrace the winding loops that are ahead. Though a roller coaster’s plan is set in steel, school districts’ hybrid, remote, red, green, cohort, and AB plans are all less certain. We all have an idea of what’s to come, but no one knows for sure, and anxiety and fear are often bred in the unknown. In a few short days, months of plans that were ever-changing are about to be rolled out like a red carpet at a star-studded event. The difference here is the stars are not A-List actors – they are students, teachers, administrators, and parents, about to embark on a school year like no one has ever seen before. And that’s the key to remember – we are entering, which every cliche-hating bone in my body tenses to type, uncharted waters. No matter how you feel about your school’s plan, remember that we are in this together. Teachers have not done this before. Parents have not done this before. Students have not done this before. Administrators have not done this before. But one thing is certain, we all want whatever we are doing to be successful. How will we be successful? I believe a large part of that success is rooted in the bridge between home and school. As a teacher and parent myself, there are some fundamental principles that I think we should all keep in mind.
1.We are doing the best we can
“We” can be defined as anyone who works in a school, anyone who sits in a desk at a school, anyone who transports students to and from school, and anyone who has children who attend school. Let’s all remember that always – “we” are on the same side. “We” are all nervous. “We” are all excited. “We” are all doing our best for the sake of our students and our own children.
2.Sometimes teachers get frustrated with technology, too.
It’s the typical scenario one would imagine: you work all night on an amazing presentation, it auto saves for the last time, and you go to sleep feeling accomplished. Now cut to 8am when you are feverishly trying every trick in the book just short of blowing into the inputs of your computer (anyone play Nintendo when they were younger?) to realize your internet is down and you are now left to execute plan B. Teachers understand that kids can have tech issues, but please know it can happen to teachers, too.
3.Communication is key
This is the most important point to keep in mind this school year. Parents: if something is going on at home (and this is not just about Covid) please tell your child’s teacher. For teachers, it is so helpful to have that background information so they can keep an eye out, conduct informal check ins, or give an extension on an assignment. Teachers don’t know unless you tell them.
4.Adults project emotions on kids
This is so true on so many levels. Whenever my older daughter was in a situation that was new to her, she’d always look at me to read my face almost as if she was asking, “Mom, are you cool with this?” A lot of us as parents and educators are not cool with this. This is probably the least cool we have ever been about anything, but as far as standing behind the decision we made as parents, we have to lead with confidence so our children can mimic that emotion. I am not a psychologist by any means, and I am sure there are times when parents’ guards should come down, but as a mom, I think standing behind your personal schooling decision isn’t one of them. If you are excited for the plan you chose for your child and they see it, chances are they’ll feel excitement, too.
It wasn’t until I was a parent that I truly understood what the parents of my students felt. This year, I am sending my two babies off to school and giving up all of the control I had these past few months. I have to trust that their teachers will do all the right things to keep my babies safe while letting them have fun and be kids. Though my middle school students are hardly babies by definition, I know that similarly, their parents are trusting me with them. And for that, and many other reasons, I will make the most of this year, and I will not let them down. After all, we are all on the same team.