I probably shouldn’t be writing you this letter over Spring Break, during a time when we should all take distance from school, but I confess my brain is just not in vacation mode. You and your kids have been on my mind a lot over the last weeks.
There’s a lot I don’t know:
-what will happen in our community;
-how long we’re going to be at home;
-how our current situation will affect us in the long term.
But here’s what I do know:
-we are all in unknown territory;
-your job is HARD. Really, really HARD.
All of a sudden, our families are constantly under the same roof together, and it seems as though there are expectations coming from all directions. Everywhere we turn, it seems like there’s some new list for all the ways we should be making the most of our family time. Ways to achieve that Instagram- or Facebook-worthy ideal. Or another resource for activities to try. Or another website. Or another expert. Or another information source. And hey, don’t forget about self-care!
So here’s what I really want to say to you.
Yes, starting next week, I will continue to provide the activities and work to keep your child on track with our Navigate learning. Yes, I will continue to provide resources and activities to keep their brains busy, both through Navigate and support of other teachers.
But to me, it’s not just about activities. What’s most important to me is keeping my commitment to the social and emotional health and growth of your child. That means keeping our classroom community going strong through our communication on Schoology and/or Seesaw, and it means being here for your child, whatever the next weeks may bring.
I also want you to know I’m here for you as well. I encourage you to keep the lines open. Let me know how this time is going for you and your family. Stay in touch! If there’s a way that I can support you in any way via email or video conference, just drop me a line.
These are difficult times. Remember that you matter. That your family matters. That we can do this, together.
15 thoughts on “#SOL20 Day 27: What Needs to be Said”
What a great letter to send to families! They are so lucky to have you as a teacher. I love that paragraph about all the expectations coming from everywhere–including self-care. And I love the way you phrase that paragraph about being there for families.
Thank you. My fingers are crossed that they’ll take me up on it. Either way, hopefully it will just be one more message that they’re doing a good job, and that who they are is ENOUGH.
-Perfect. You offer exactly the reassurance needed – that you’ll still be a familiar presence in the children’s education, and you balance that list of “or-or-ors” with reduced expectations. I read a tweet today that praised a district for telling teachers to halve what they’d planned for the first week of teaching online, and then halve it again to arrive at a reasonable expectation. Words of wisdom – that district’s as well as yours. And you emphasize the most important thing – families making the most of their time, safe at home together. Well-said.
Thank you! I love that idea – of taking our expectations and halving them. That makes so much sense. And, I learned ohsoquickly…it’s TRUE.
I saw your name after I made a late afternoon post. Your letter speaks to me. It’s written just I’d expect from you. It’s like you read my mind. We start distance learning Monday and this afternoon I invited my students to join me in a video conference. It was so nice to see them. My heart aches for all of us. Wishing you peace during this journey into the unknown.
Thanks, Darlene. I miss you! And if anyone can support learning AND community online, I have perfect faith that would be YOU.
Take care, friend. =))
Your letter is just want I needed to hear today, asi I get ready to communicate with my students’ families. I hope I can find the same balance you managed between hope and strength. Thank you.
Thank you. I appreciate the encouragement. So far the response has been pretty positive. I think if there’s anything we could all use, it’s a little less judgment and a little more validation…
We sometimes forget that parents need guidance through this as well. I am sure they are confused as to what to do with their kids. This is not summer vacation.
Yes! And I think parents need to hear that who they are, and what they do, is ENOUGH – even if, in our inner minds, we fall short of how we want things to be. Parenting is HARD.
I love that you focus on the needs of the parents here. I’m so glad my kids are all older, because I’m going crazy enough being at home trying to still connect with all my students and families. I can’t imagine having to teach my own kids, too!!
Thank you! Yes, my kids are older as well and still I’m feeling stretched. I remember all too well how tough it was to be a working mom to little ones. And to have them at home without any respite? I can only imagine.
Yes to all of this! This is essentially what I said to all of the parents/guardians I talked to today. So many were so grateful & happy to know they were on the right track. I assured them that as long as they were doing just a little bit a day they were doing great. But I wasn’t concerned about the work they were to be doing each day. I was concerned about their child and how they were doing emotionally. Several asked me, “Is this okay? Is it okay that we do it this way?” Absolutely. If they are feeling overwhelmed with something just stop. That’s what I do in our room. We take a break for a bit. I love how you ended your letter. We can do this together.
Absolutely! All any of us are looking for is a little validation and a sense that we are doing OK.
And yes, Anna Maria. We WILL do this together.
That is so good… the most important issue is that people stay well in all senses of the word. I have just decided that since we can’t teach with online resources, we need to keep in touch with students by phone, just to say ‘hi’ and show them and their families that we care and make sure they practise their English, even if just for a few minutes!