First, I want to take a minute to tell all school employees THANK YOU! I can only imagine how difficult the spring semester and “The Summer of Worry” were and how much stress you are enduring at the start of the new year.
As you know, I live in the Rio Grande Valley, where public schools remain closed for the time being. Every day, I hear from teachers who tell me they are staying up until 1 or 2 in the morning to complete attendance, to grade, and to provide for the next day’s synchronous or asynchronous lesson. I also hear from friends who teach in other parts of Texas and in other states where students are back in school. They share tales of the latest round of quarantines, some excellent practices in place, and phases of reopening.
Our cafeteria heroes continue to provide breakfast and lunch to students each day--with the help of our school bus drivers--even in sweltering heat and pouring rain, just as they did throughout the most frightening days of the pandemic, Our custodians have worked tirelessly to prepare our schools for reopening and have undergone training for this new level of sanitization. Our administrative teams and all other team members are riding together on this pandemic roller coaster.
I would love to hear from YOU—teachers, support staff, librarians, counselors, UIL coaches/sponsors, administrators, and all other school employees. I would also love to hear from parents and students. This is what I would like to know, either in the comments below this post or, if you prefer, by sending me an email:
1. 1. In what district do you work?
2. 2. Is your school open for f2f instruction, completely virtual, or following a hybrid plan?
3. 3. What IS working that other schools/districts should consider emulating, keeping the two most important goals in mind: the education of our children and the safety of students and employees?
4. 4. What is NOT working, and what solutions can you offer?
5. 5. Does your school/district have community partners providing assistance in any way/shape/form? If yes, who are those partners and how are they helping?
Let’s share Best Practices and “Stop That Right Nows!” (Yes, I am fully aware that “nows” is not a word, yet it is exactly what I mean!)
While I understand the level of anxiety and angst, I am asking that the dialogue remain respectful. My goal is for all of us to help each other get through this COVID craziness. As my mom always says, “This, too, shall pass.” Not soon enough, but it WILL pass!
I have decided to try two new things this “season.”
First, I would like to share some mental-health resources I use and others I want to try and invite you to check them out, especially during this highly stressful, emotional time:
1. Podcasts to try: Hay House Meditations; Inspire Nation; The Happiness Lab
Do you have others you would like to share? If so, please do!
Second, I know many teachers and other school employees have a “side hustle” to earn extra money and to share your talents! I thought it would be great to share those in order to support our fellow educators. (Always remember that when I use the term “educators,” I am referring to ALL school employees! We are a team!)
I would like to start Educator Side Hustle off with two:
1. 1. My former student, Katherine, is now a special-education teacher in Corpus Christi and a single mom who recently opened an online shop with her popular home-sewn products and other great items: Check out Full Moon Junkyard and give this fellow educator’s page a like on Facebook!
2. 2. Teacher Courtney Jones, who started the #clearthelist movement, is still teaching while running the new nonprofit ClearTheList Foundation, which offers grants and all sorts of other opportunities for teachers. Check out the Foundation’s website, too!
Chris Ardis retired in May of 2013 following a 29-year teaching career.
She now works as a freelance writer and editor and remains committed to
education and educators. Chris can be reached at email@example.com. (Photo by Linda Blackwell, McAllen)