How do I even wrap my mind around this?
The start of every school year brings two swings of the pendulum for me, excitement and anxiety. I can't help it, every year I think of the best case scenario with my students. I imagine that they love every lesson, every video, every lab experiment and of course, think I'm the best science teacher ever. Has this fantasy ever played out - no! But one can still dream, right?
I am also filled with the anxiety of all of the work of being a teacher. I am a hard worker. I have always been one. It is normal for me to pull 60 hour work weeks. But this year, this path will be uphill, in the snow, both ways (remember that old joke?).
I saw a Facebook post recently that resonated with me. The act of teaching was compared to an iceberg, people only see the 10% above the water, when 90% of the work was under it. Don't even get me started on the mental image of me treading water...
Only other teachers get it.
Here in Central Texas, the coronavirus is still going strong and stress levels are high. Teachers are scared, parents are scared and so are our students. My school starts earlier than most and so after much debate and many, many Zoom meetings, we started virtually for the school year.
While this is of course the safest plan, and I am so grateful that my community values our lives, it is very hard to teach anything this way. As did most of you, this is how we ended the school year with distance learning. I felt that we had just seen the tip of that iceberg.
Over the summer, knowing that virtual learning was a real possibility, I joined a lot of webinars, learned a lot of new programs and built an entirely new website. I know many of you did too - because you were there in those webinars with me. Teachers are already notorious for sharing what they have learned. It's in our blood. The amount of hard work and resources that I have seen this summer share FOR FREE has absolutely blown me away. Ans although I am still learning, I do feel more capable of handling this curve ball than I was in the spring.
Take a minute to think about the things that go wrong in the first week of school. Now double it. Be prepared to be unmoored. However, with the first week of school behind me, I can feel the beginning of a community getting started. I've been invited into my students hearts, just a little bit. I'll take it.
It is a daunting task placed in front of every teacher every year: create a community of learners in your classroom. Attempting to do this without the actual classroom or the building itself has never been attempted. Not on this scale, and not for all learners. My little school and its building meant more to me than I realized. And maybe that's the point. That it all matters more than I realized.
Never did I think that my first blog of the year would be like this, not sharing teaching tips or lesson plans, but just sharing of myself in the hopes of making a connection.
The first week was hard - but I did it. And so did the other teachers and staff. And so can you.
Take care and make those connections!
Hi there! My name is Laura Thomas. I am an MYP science teacher in Texas. I want to share my journey of being a teacher and outdoor enthusiast through this blog. I hope that my lessons help you to be a better teacher and my travels help you to have a better life!