Perhaps I’m generalizing, but I think most teachers are planners.
By mid August, I usually have my bulletin boards done. Last week, I went to 8 stores (wearing a mask) to find just the right lesson plan book and then dated all the pages and put tabs for each week. That gave me a sense of control that I’ve missed during COVID.
Any other summer, I would have had my seating charts done, first few weeks of lesson plans written and copies made. I would have bought new school clothes and gotten my hair cut.
At school, I’m a planner. I am at my most comfortable when I know what I’m going to be doing, and when I have planned what to do for every eventuality. I like being able to relax once everything is in place.
But nothing is in place this year. There’s so much ambiguity about the new school year – when’s the first day? Is it hybrid, remote, or in person? How many students are opting to be fully remote? Will there be an outbreak in my state in the next week, causing schools to go fully remote again? Will classes by 60 minutes long for a full day of school or 40 minutes long because students can’t eat in school and have to have half days? How long before we have our first case of COVID?
NEA Today, before the pandemic, said that a “majority of teachers are feeling a high level of stress” as well as low ability to cope. I don’t know about you, but I find teaching under the best circumstances stressful. I love love love my job, but it is stressful. And teaching remotely was ten times worse, Now, they’re asking me to do them both at the same time. (What is it they said about Ginger Rogers – she did the same thing as Fred Astaire, only backwards and in heels.)
Social media and the news are overloaded with the debate to open schools. Yesterday, I saw a group of parents protesting a town not far from me whose school board had decided to open remotely. Parents were screaming to make the teachers get to work and demanding their taxes be refunded.
I wish I were one of those people who can roll with it. I know teachers who haven’t checked their emails all summer. I’m trying, I really am. I know I should let it go. But I’m going to start school with mid-year stress levels.