The End of the Tunnel

This has been a hard year in education. Not just the 2020-21 school year… this calendar year.

  1. We did not get to spend the 4th quarter with our students in 2020. Our seniors graduated without closure for us as educators.
  2. We have lost some of what made it easy to collaborate with others – consistency in what school looks like. For some it has been normal classes, face to face all year long. For others, it has been 100% remote. In the middle there are as many different ways of handling this year’s challenges as there are teaching styles.
  3. We have lost our face to face connection time. No matter how our schools have handled the pandemic, we have had no opportunity to learn and grow together face to face at conferences. We are not getting face to face planning time with colleagues. We are spending more time alone.
  4. We have another class of seniors nearing their graduation and, for many of us, our time face to face with them has been/will be limited.
  5. Many have been afraid for their health and the health of their loved ones. On top of planning in new ways, creating lessons that engage both face to face and remote students, and missing our social connections… we are living through a pandemic. It is stress that we don’t normally carry added to a lot of other stresses we don’t normally carry.

I have spent the year watching you, my colleagues, as you’ve had to go into the classroom face to face. I recognize 100% the privilege I have being able to teach remotely this year. Although I do have underlying health problems, I know that many of you do as well and your district was unable or unwilling to give you a modified work environment. I can not thank my district enough.

Watching teacher friends on Facebook discuss vaccine rollouts in their state has made it clear that, while the vaccine IS a game changer, it is going to take time for the game to be changed. My husband and I work for the same school and were able to get vaccine 1 yesterday. Some teacher friends have already had both. Some teacher friends are probably going to be waiting deep into March and April.

But there is light. As we near the end of the year, we also near summer break. We NEED that break this year. It will give the vaccine rollout time to reach the general population and I hope that by fall, even if we return to school masked, we will return to a more normal schedule and approaching herd immunity.

My planned return to in person teaching date is March 22. It will be the first time since March 16, 2020 that I have been in my classroom in front of my students. I can’t believe I have spent a YEAR away from them. We see each other every day as I Zoom in to do live lessons but… I feed off their energy and it’s hard to be as energetic about a giant head on a smart board. Some of my favorite units to teach are my “spring themes” like Plastic Ocean and Zero Waste! I am anxious to be able to teach those IN PERSON!! The light at the end of the tunnel really is getting a little brighter.

There is a sale this week (Feb 9 and 10, 2021) at TPT and my whole store will be 20% off. You can get an extra 5% off by using the code FEBSALE21. We’ve been working to add new French resources and to digitize some of our most popular units to make them easier to use in the uncertainty of pandemic education. The overwhelming brain fog of this year has made it harder to create new things so we’ve focused a lot of effort on making older things better! If you own units that you haven’t updated recently, be sure to check in your TPT purchases. You may have some surprises waiting!

Thank you for all you’ve done this year. Thank you for being a great educator. Remember, you ARE a great educator. This year, we are all doing our best. And our best is enough.

Author: senoracmt

I began teaching Spanish in Illinois in 1994. I have taught levels 1-4 in a small rural high school, 8th grade introductory Spanish, Biology 1, and 101 and 102 at the community college level. My Spanish classes are partnered with the community college to offer students 8 semester hours of dual credit on completion of Spanish 4. In 2011 I met Carol Gaab and Kristy Placido and have since co-authored the book "La hija del sastre" with Carol Gaab and authored the novels "La Calaca Alegre", "Bianca Nieves y los 7 toritos." "Vector," "48 horas" and "Bananas" through Fluency Matters. In 2006 I became National Board certified and I have been serving as a mentor both for candidates seeking certification in world languages other than English and a virtual mentor for candidates in all certificate areas. I completed my Masters degree in Spanish education in 2011 and did my research on the use of Understanding by Design to create meaningful cultural units for the language classroom. I am a frequent presenter on this topic, please consider me if you are interested in a workshop on backward design. In 2013 I was named the ICTFL Foreign Language teacher of the year and in 2014 I was selected as CSCTFL's teacher of the year. In November of 2014 I was lucky enough to be one of the five finalists for the ACTFL National Teacher of the Year in San Antonio, TX. What a "Cinderella" experience! You can reach me via email at senoracmt at gmail.com.

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