Today is my first day back to work since May. Our teacher professional development meetings begin this week and then the students report back on the 31. There were five stages of grief as the summer vacation closed this year:
Denial - Summer is never going to end! This is my life now, forever!
Bargaining - Please God, let this wonderful season of being carefree continue just a little longer?
Depression - Here we go. I'm on the path to certain death.
Acceptance - I'm glad I'm going back. I do like teaching and I do miss it. I just got so used to the summer lifestyle.
I've been in the Acceptance phase this past weekend, and now I am as ready as can be for this week. This year is different for us, and for all teachers, students and parents. We're going remote until mid October. So, instead of starting the first day of school surrounded by our colleagues and welcomed back with a giant assembly, we are welcomed back with Zoom and Google meetings in our homes.
This has been our life since March. Human contact has been kept to a minimum. And it is nice to not have to drive my forty five minute commute today and be thrown immediately into a world that has been so unlike what I have grown accustomed to, as the pending new school year will be unlike anything we have also been used to.
I'm glad that our school is having these professional development seminars to ready us for that first week, where I have been stressing out over how to build a rapport with my new students and figure out ways to meaningfully teach the same content using online tools. I hope to get a lot out of these two weeks of training and even though summer vacation has ended, a new and excited time of the year has just begun.
After all, unlike perhaps every other profession, there will be other summer vacations, but there hopefully will not be another year that will we start remotely. While I'm saddened that my summer filled with spending quality time with my family has come to a close, I know that I am about to embark on spending time with my family and a new generation of students. I know that in the end, I will find that truly rewarding. Today will start the first day toward great things. We just have to stay positive. Here we go. There's no turning back now.
Lastly, I know I have it a lot easier than a number of teachers who have to go in and risk getting the virus. In an ideal world, I would much rather go back and greet students and staff in person. But it's just my personal opinion that for the sake of safety that is not the way to go at this time. I do keep them in my prayers that all goes well with them as they embark on their challenging journey. While teaching remotely is strange, I feel for others who are putting their lives and others on the line with face to face contact. God bless you and may we all get through this school year together.