I'm trying to stay optimistic. After all, I'm sending my own unvaccinated elementary school students to their first and fourth grade teachers tomorrow. We are all hoping that universal masking is enough. We hope this variant can be kept in check. We hope we can keep our kids healthy.
But after 18 months of weighing every decision about what to do and what risks to take, it is the letting go that is hardest right now. And maybe letting go isn't the right thing. Maybe instead we have to hold on to the things most important to us.
We've learned the importance of our physical and mental health over these past months, so we will be vigilant about masking and about holding space for both the trauma and joy our students will carry into our classrooms. We are aware of the attacks on our public schools, our elected public officials, and our medical professionals, so we will continue to teach and show up for our students. We can see the world shaking in Haiti, hear of the political upheaval here and abroad, and smell the smoke from global fires, so we must wake up in the morning and continue to fight in our small ways.
The isolation of this past year has caused me to lose so faith in so much, but after sliding those desks around, I was able to arrange my room in order to maintain 3-feet distance. When new sixth and seventh graders came in for orientation, they were full of nervous anticipation as well, and we are all feeling so much. I'm certain my students this year will once again restore me to some kind of faith. The do this every year. So as I start back, carrying all of my own trauma and joy, I look forward to the restorative healing a new school year can provide.
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