“Letter writing can be seen as a gift because someone has taken his/her time to write and think and express love.”~Soraya Diase Coffelt
An Open Letter to Teachers
I thought I’d change things up and use the start of the 2021-2022 school year to share my heart and encourage yours. One of the things I miss most about being in a school building is leaving notes for my colleagues. My heart would race as I’d sneak the note in their boxes and escape unseen. I could always tell when they got it. The warm smile on their faces was priceless. It would often follow something like, “I needed that!”So I thought I’d widen the net and write a note to every teacher in the WORLD!
A few months ago on a Sunday afternoon I was cleaning the kitchen after Sunday dinner. My nail got caught in the oven door and I broke my nail at the root. The pain was equivalent to slamming my toes in the middle of the night on my way to the bathroom times 100. Stay with me. My panic began to rise as the blood and pain took over. I paused just enough to remind myself that panic would keep me from making a clear decision. The next pause made way for the word STABILIZE to flood my mind. First, I applied pressure. Next, I stabilized the nail with band aids, medical tape, and popped a few Motrin for the pain.
The pandemic has caused many things including causing great INSTABILITY. I can only imagine the anxiety and stress of having to teach in a virtual space. All in the midst of instability everywhere. I’ve heard from teachers across the country that have candidly shared how the instability in the classroom/schools has added to feelings of stress and burnout. One day being told to do this and the next day do that. One week in person the next hybrid and then full virtual with this cycle on repeat. Teachers being made responsible for reporting parent engagement, taking attendance, and trying to corral high school students that have decided to go on an extended lunch to McDonald’s.
The amazing truth is that you did it. Collectively teachers around the globe were able to take a pause long enough to stabilize and execute a plan of action. I have not been prouder of being an educator than at this moment. To watch and see all the amazing ways teachers have gone above and beyond to ensure they provided not only instruction but love, compassion, and unwavering resilience. Not to mention meeting the needs in their own families. I wish I could pitch a sign in front of each of your homes/schools that reads, “Heroes Work Here.” So as you prepare for a new school year I want you to take all that love and compassion and give yourself some.
We don’t know what the future holds. Just remember to stabilize and rebound. Check-in with yourself and determine what you need at the moment. Take some time to identify what stabilizes you. Is it reading, spirituality, creating, or being physical? Identify and apply. Never forget to always trust what is in you. You are an educator. When all else fails or all hell’s breaking loose, trust your teaching, trust that you know your craft, teach your face off even if the rest falls apart.
After a few weeks of stabilizing and intentionally caring for the nail it healed and rebounded. I believe you are tougher than nails (pun intended). I didn’t want another school year to begin without you knowing how truly valued and appreciated you are. That I see you. I didn’t want another school year to begin without you knowing you have a cheerleader in your corner. I didn’t want another school year to begin with you thinking your efforts went unnoticed. May you have an amazing school year. Remember no matter what comes your way, stabilize and you will rebound.