By Sara Camp
First Grade Teacher, Windsor Hills Elementary
Sara was named a Putnam City Schools Top Five Excellent Educator this year. As guest blogger this week, we asked her to share with our readers the perspective of a teacher dealing with the closure of her school due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She enthusiastically agreed! We hope you find it as enlightening and inspiring as we do.
For a Type-A teacher like me, the uncertainty of the COVID-19 situation and the impact it will have on schools is causing so many thoughts to race through my head. When will I see my kids again? What’s the plan moving forward? How can I be at peace with my kids’ safety when I can’t see them every day? My own two children miss their teachers dearly, and I am anticipating the day they say they don’t like homeschool because they don’t like their teacher. (That’s me, by the way.) So, where do we go from here?
In the beginning, I attempted to positively rewire my brain to think about using this time wisely — organizing, relaxing, spending quality time with family. However, underneath my best laid plans, there was still fear of the future. What was the last thing I said to my students? What is the last memory they have of me? Did I make the most of our time together? All teachers know that the time after spring break is a magical time of growth. Growth in knowledge, relationships, friendships, and social skills — the list could go on. Did I do enough in August through February to make up for all of that? I don’t have the answers to these questions, but what I do have is conviction in my next steps as an educator, whenever that may be. The next time I have the ability to be with my students, I will make memories every chance I get. I will revel in the little moments that make our classroom feel like a family. I will demonstrate love to my student’s as fiercely as I can. Most of all, I will make a conscious effort to savor every moment, knowing that my time with these kids is not promised.
The best advice I have for moving forward, is to reflect on the past. Relive the good times you had with your students, and make a plan to have more of those moments in the future, even if we’re uncertain of when that is. This might not be the ending we had planned, but it can serve as a purposeful beginning to the next steps in our teaching journey.