#SOL20 The Thinker of thoughts
I am the thinker....I can choose my thoughts.
I've been reading Chasing Cupcakes by Elizabeth Benton and also listening to her podcast, Primal Potential. Elizabeth talks about real change coming when you change your thoughts about your situation. It is an idea that resonates with me as we prepare for a most unusual 20-21 school year.
I live on Long Island, New York. We are awaiting Governor Cuomo's decision about the plans the schools developed for reopening. The district where I live and the district where I teach (two separate districts) have both set forth a plan where elementary students come to school every day. I know there are many feelings about reopening and many educators are pushing for remote learning. I think it is a complicated issue, for sure. I also think that a community's level of outbreak should determine if schools reopen. Where I am, we are close to 1% infected. My own children really struggled with remote learning and desperately missed school. As a teacher, I felt we lost many students with remote learning. The truth is, I am glad that we are going to have the opportunity to be back in the building in September.
However....school will be unrecognizable in so many ways. Every simple routine and structure has to be rethought. Nothing will be as it was. Students will be spread out, socially distanced. They will not share supplies. They will not be able to physically sit near each other to collaborate on assignments or games. I won't be able to sit close to students. I won't be able to sit with my colleagues at lunch or in meetings. I am really not sure how all of this will work.
I heard a quote once that said something like ,"Just because you've been given a cactus doesn't mean you have sit on it." 2020 is certainly a great big cactus. There are so many stressful aspects of school reopening in the building.... with health and safety being the top priority. As the thinker of thoughts, I have the choices as to how I see this situation. Do I bemoan how awful it is for students to sit apart from each other and not share materials? Do I focus on all that is lost and different and not how I think kids learn best?
Or, if I do believe that kids need the structure of school....AND if the precautions and new rules and routines keep kids and teachers safe while at school, can I reframe my thoughts to see the possibilities? Can I think of ways to make school still feel fun for my students? Can I plan ways to help us feel like a community? Can I focus my time and energy on what I can do to make teaching and learning the best it can be in the current reality?
I am the thinker of thoughts and I think I will not be sitting on the cactus.
Kathleen, your post resonates so clearly with me at this very moment. My district will be distance teaching, and I have been taking online courses to get ready. There is such sadness in either way of starting school this year, but I do also believe- as you write- we can think about it and find the good in the reality.
I think you're right that a lot of this year is going be based heavily on our mindset and that we have some power to choose it. I think hard times call for the most ambitiously positive mindsets (with honesty included). We can talk about the hard stuff with our students--but we can choose to find ways to push through rather than get poked. Thanks for your timely reflection. -Deborah
8/4/2020 12:26:06 pm
It is about mindset a lot, isn't it? I like the "don't sit on a cactus" message you shared. In my slice I too lingered with the thoughts I have about the beginning of the school year.
8/4/2020 02:50:45 pm
The sentence that stands out to me in this post is “Nothing will be as it was.” I know this is true but also know the new school year will not be the zoom marathon it was last spring. I have an image of you connecting w/ students through your eyes, blow kisses, outstretched arms. I trust the love you feel for students will transcend the obstacles, But in this moment, I’m also thinking about your safety during the storm. I’ve seen images of downed trees and crushed cars and roofs. I hope you’ve escaped all that damage.
8/11/2020 05:30:53 pm
I love the idea of sitting on a cactus. I will not be sitting on one either! We are going back five days in person, and it's up to me to put aside what ever I might be feeling and make it as great a learning experience as it can be for my 7th graders. Thanks for the reminder.
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Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski