1. What are you going to miss most about not going back to school?
I used to think teaching children was my sanity. This has changed. Teaching middle school English, right now, is my full time job but I no longer consider it my life long career because I realized, being a researcher/writer/film maker is all I really want to do. I do not want to write daily lessons, grade papers, and manage behaviors. I want to give myself time to explore and learn other forms of teaching that will fill my soul as I pour into others. I want to develop and teach different kinds of lessons for a different set of skills, skills that I am still learning. Honestly, I will not miss anything about not going back to school, right now. I am happy to have good health and an opportunity to explore who I am without the foundation of a classroom as my identity.
I thought I would miss the kids but I really don’t miss them because I still feel connected to them, daily. I feel connected to staff, actually closer to some now, than I was before. I am content and grateful.
2.. What will you do differently next school year based on what you've learned over this break?
I don’t know if it’s felt like a break or a different level of work/intensity.
I never had a day off—no naps, no tv shows, just reading and writing and teaching.
No matter how hard I go, I always feel like I am behind. My professors recognized this and guided me to getting what I need. I am in the process of obtaining what I call an adult IEP that will allow me to receive learning accommodations that this break taught me I need. Before this, I thought I wasn’t enough and always thought I needed more time to complete tasks because I am “slow.” I know that may be read in a derogatory way—I do not want to offend anyone but that is always how the fact that I work slower than others made me feel. Like I was slow as a person, in general. I finally learned, I need more time because of the artistic way I process what I am learning.
I learned this as I tracked my progress during the quarantine. Being in isolation for 2 months gave me more time and I still did not finish things as early as I would have wanted to ... that is because I work slowly, not because “I am slow.” It is because of the way I learn when I am working on something that takes a lot of concentration and critical thinking. Not next year but now, I commit to HONORING my creative/learning process. Being softer with myself and having faith that I will be the billionaire that I see myself as in the future, no matter how “slow” or long it takes me to learn as I get there.
I hate terms like slow, honestly. The idea of myself as slow made me believe I was less than I am. Like I was dumb. I felt dumb for such a long time. Maybe that’s why my doctoral work is truly filling me, even though it’s hard for me to get through, some nights. I noticed how every ounce of feedback from a professor gives me the confidence to boost my efficacy in myself. Do I need grades to show myself I am capable? Without the challenges of school, would I still think I was slow or would this be something I don’t even consider? Is something wrong with being slow? Why is it so important for me to be smart?
Can I be smart and slow?
The only thing wrong with being slow is to think you’re wrong for being slow.
I am slow and proud of it.
I work slowly and I love all of the things that happen in between the time I start a project and the time I finish. The things that slow me down matter in my process.
They say the summer classes are the most challenging so this summer, I will continue conquering fear/anxiety-induced procrastination. I have already started by turning my chapter 1 draft last night, even though it’s not due for another 2 weeks. Thanks to my teacher-interns, I really was able to use this year to learn my rhythm as a student and coach of educators.
Next year, I will work at my school as a coach of teachers and families with the Verizon Innovative Learning Schools program. This spring, I learned to find my vibe and let others find their own, trusting that we will all support one another as we build our individual strengths, collectively.
3. What have you gotten better at since you've been at home over this break? (Think about how you've been spending your time - you can use things you've learned from school or home) (Teacher no opt out answer - we have all gotten better at teaching online!)
I’ve gotten better at being able to hear the voices in my mind and find the root of the perspectives. I’m better with yoga than I ever was and I am feeling (internally) better because I only have 1 final paper left in my course work.
*These were my responses to the weekly self-care check-in that the staff at my school does.