Although we all share a global experience with COVID-19, we all have different beginnings in that chapter, and we will all have different endings. Mine began as my colleagues, scholars, and I entered Spring Break. As I mentioned in my previous post, From Trauma-Impacted to Trauma-Responsive, my school is one of the lowest performing schools in the state; last year, it was the lowest. A tremendous amount of work has been done by staff and scholars to turn around the school, improve its reputation, and to meet the unique needs of our scholars. Our outlook was promising as we were projected to make a significant improvement in our overall school grade. Our school became a place where scholars and staff wanted to be; it became a safe haven, a loving “family.” On most days, the work was exhausting yet rewarding. Spring Break was anticipated as a much-needed and well-deserved time for rest, relaxation, and recharging as we looked forward to state assessments when we returned. This would be a time for our scholars to show what they know; an opportunity for them to apply what they had learned and to celebrate their success. The Friday before our break, we celebrated hard work with class parties and celebrations; we said our farewells and our “Love ya’s”; and prepped our classrooms and offices for our typical one-week break. By the next day, we were notified that our Spring Break was extended by an additional week. That’s when my COVID-19 chapter began…..getting an extra week of Spring Break, I’ll admit, was met with a bit of joy. But that joy was soon overshadowed by news that we would be embarking upon a different way of teaching and learning as we were entering digital learning for at least the next month.
We are in our 5th week of digital learning as I write this and much has transpired during those weeks. We will now be extending our digital learning for the remainder of the school year. As I reflect on the COVID-19 chapter of my life so far, I am reminded of the numbness I felt. It was difficult for me to process at first. I felt as if I was only transforming into “crisis intervention” mode that I am so familiar with, and that I would be able to “feel” later. It was different this time, though, and it took some deeper processing for me to realize exactly what it was. I was grieving. My situation–like that of my colleagues and scholars–was akin to a sudden loss. We didn’t know that the Friday “goodbye” and “love ya” would be the last–at least for a long while. If we had just known……we would have hugged a little longer, made sure they knew they were loved unconditionally, and assured them that this would pass. But we didn’t know and we did our best to convey these beliefs as we do everyday.
If you have had a similar experience, let yourself grieve. It’s ok. Just don’t get stuck there. Our silver lining right now is that, while we may be apart, we are still together. There will be a time when we can hug again and give special handshakes. In the meantime, I am grateful that we live in a digital world. We can still give the “love ya’s” and we can be assured and provide assurance that we will all be together again soon.
Hugs and prayers for all of you as we journey through this new “chapter”. Let’s fill it with the best memories we can and give it a happy ending! We’re writing history…..
Thanks for reading! ~Rebecca