This is just a chapter in our story. I wrote these words at the end of a post just 3 days ago on my Instagram when I was hopeful I might get to see my students again. Today I was in my car when when a friend texted and said “are you watching Abbott’s press conference?” I ran inside and flipped on the TV for it to say
“ALL TEXAS SCHOOLS CLOSED FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE SCHOOL YEAR YEAR.”
Those LOUD words are ones I won’t forget.
I teach 8th grade. I remember exactly what it was like to be in 8th grade full of anticipation and anxiety about high school. It’s one of the reasons I love teaching junior high. Students used to sit by my desk the last couple of minutes of class and ask for advice or catch me up on their lives. I lived for those moments. My students will never get junior high back. They won’t get a hug from me and a mouthful of all of my high school advice for the fall. I think I’ll miss that the most.
You see, 8th grade is sweet.
8th graders are full of sass and drama just like the stereotypes suggest, but underneath they are some of the most loving people I know. They’re trying to figure life out. Students get to fall freely in 8th grade without the pressures of high school to trip them. I also know that 8th graders are resilient. Heck, all kids are. They’ll make it through this. They’ll see their friends again. They’ll grow up to be exactly who they were created to be. Until May 15th I’ll still be their English teacher, just online. Really, I’ll always be their teacher, their cheerleader, and a mentor to come to when life gets tough. I’m incredibly sad we don’t get to finish this race together in person.
They say you can’t pour from an empty cup, and man was my cup running low.
Personally, my brain is having a hard time processing all of this. It’s stuck in the “spinning wheel of death” on a computer trying to connect all of the emotions and logistics of what has taken place over the last few months.
My feelings are tangled and mixed. Maybe you feel this way too.
This break has been so needed. I have taught a new grade level the last two years, gotten married, and have been adjusting to a my new normal. I’ve grown a lot this year— in this break too. I’m not so hard on myself, that time spent with people I love is my tippy top priority. I’ve learned to SLOW DOWN.
I didn’t know I needed an empty calendar until it was emptied for me.
I’ve had so much time to think, to read, and to rediscover that my thoughts and feelings matter. As an enneagram 2, I often find myself cheering on others instead of cheering for myself. Most days I have a little schedule I follow, and some days are just go with the flow. I never would have guessed this, but I am quite literally living out a dream of mine to enjoy the presence of being home and to create a life giving place to come back to once this is all over.
Teaching is a one of a kind profession.
I know a few things for sure. The grading, administrative tasks, behavior management, and actual teaching was drowning me. I know it will be overwhelming in the future, too. In my time to think, I’ve realized that beyond the tediousness is a highly emotional experience. Teaching is an opportunity to shape the lives of young people. That’s why I got into this gig in the first place! Oh, what a full circle realization.
For the next few months I’m going to show up for my students until summer, hope I get to see them again sometime, and use this time to take extra good care of myself. I hung up a huge quote on my classroom wall from Bob Goff this year that says “We are all rough drafts of the people we are becoming.” If I could sum up this year in one sentence, it would be exactly that.
COVID-19 has stolen a lot of things from a lot of people, but I’m not going to let it steal my joy.
If you’re feeling relieved, you’re not alone. If your heart is overwhelmed with sadness, you’re not alone. Share your emotions with others, it’s what bonds us closer together. We need each other. I’m here for you! You can ALWAYS email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out on instagram @simplyemilye.
Love you big!