Starting a New School Year
My website has been quiet recently due to the work involved in starting my own planning and preparation for this new school year. I've been working on this blog entry on and off over the last week, and I'm ready to share it with you!
Well, for the first time in 11 years, I (along with tens of thousands of educators) will be starting a school year virtually. For the first time in a really long time, I feel lost, and all the tech tools and knowledge in the world wouldn't help me feel any more secure in what I'm trying to do. I think teachers everywhere are struggling and looking for answers that just aren't there.
I came across a really good quote the other day while planning for a presentation to other music educators about starting the school year:
“Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it’s less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you’ve lost, or you can accept that and try to put something together that’s good.”- Elizabeth Edwards
I read that quote and thought of all the emotions I've been experiencing over the last 6 months. I feel like I went through a period of mourning at the end of the school year, and again in August when we realized we weren't going to be able to start the year with any in-person learning.
Now, I'm ready to make the best out of a less than ideal situation.
As music educators, we have always approached each school year with a measure of flexibility and resilience, no matter what scenario we are walking into. It's just part of our job. We need to continue to be flexible and resilient, especially in the changing landscape of education that we are currently facing. Here are some of the things I've been doing to maintain my flexibility and resilience, and what I recommend you do, too:
Focus on what you can control. I am sure you've heard this a THOUSAND times, but seriously, it'll make your life seem a little less overwhelming. I can't control a lot of things going on around me right now, but I can control how I react to them, and how I move forward through them.
Keep your expectations realistic. As teachers, we tend to hold high expectations for ourselves and our ability to create learning opportunities for our kids. KEEP THAT UP, but be realistic about what you can do right now. We are transitioning into a teaching position that we weren't hired for. Teaching online is entirely different from the way we've been teaching in the classroom, so give yourself some grace. Will the first week of school go swimmingly with no glitches? Probably not (although if it does, let me know!). Will you feel like you're reaching your kids as effectively as you did in the classroom at first? Maybe. Be patient. You'll find what works for you, and what works best for your kids.
Find an outlet. I have always loved being creative. My outlet for creativity has evolved over the years, but I'm currently into scrapbooking, journaling, and creating with my Cricut. I'm fortunate to have a craft room in my apartment, and it has truly been my sanctuary for the last 5 months. Whenever I feel overwhelmed and unable to process my thoughts or feelings, I journal. I filled an entire journal with photos, writings, scrapbook layouts, and memories in 3 months. I also have my Grandmother's Clavinova, which she played in her house for years, and now has a home in my dining room. I always feel close to her when I sit at the keyboard, and whatever I choose to play, it never fails to calm my emotions.
I will be posting more content about distance learning this week, and continuing to do so on a regular basis :-)
My creative outlet and inspiration
My grandmother, a lifelong teacher and musician.
My boyfriend and partner in crime. While his job has mostly remained the same through all of this, he's been there while I grow through the changes in my field.
My co-teachers, who spend more time sleeping than they do working...