One by one, the faces of my colleagues appeared on the computer screen. While it felt so good to see each of them, I knew our reason for this Reopening Committee meeting carried true gravitas: How to spend the five days of professional development time given to us before our students arrive back in the building at the end of this month? Several solid ideas were offered by various committee members: Time to unpack and design learning environments (many of us were forced to relocate our classrooms to accommodate decreasing student traffic); professional training on Zoom and flipped classroom approaches (in case we transition to a hybrid model); socioemotional break-out sessions; one colleague suggested a large group discussion to allow teachers to verbalize anxieties.
While these were all sound ideas, I could feel myself shifting in my seat, unable to shake the anxiety gripping my inside. The feeling was tight, uncomfortable. “But I shouldn’t I be feeling good?” I wondered to myself. “Connecticut’s numbers are very low. Everything will be fine… right?”
Perhaps it’s the uncertainty of how viral breakouts crop up. But if we all wear masks, it will be fine, right? Perhaps it’s the uncertainty of how I will teach reading intervention and support the teachers in my building under these conditions. But I’ll figure that out, right? Perhaps it’s the fact my own children will be returning to school. But they’ll be safe, right?
I have come to realize this is a situation well beyond my control; and despite personal feelings I will need to return to work, follow protocols, and do my best. I know I am not alone in this realization, as thousands of my teaching colleagues find themselves in the same position.
But somehow. . . I’m not feeling ready. Yet.