Today it feels like day 300 of quarantine. It feels like a million years since we’ve been in school, yet it seems like yesterday. Today I am filled with sadness, oddly accompanied by higher vibes than a sad day would normally bring me. I don’t know why this is, perhaps I am accepting the changes that are inevitably ahead.
I’m sad for the kids right now. Some of them are fine, like mine. I have my 11-year-old and 17-year-old plus my 16-year-old nephew. All three boys have not mourned school, and deny missing it at all. The older boys are both Juniors, and I have to say that if this had happened in my Junior year, I would have celebrated for DAYS and praised the Lord for his amazing gift of a never ending snow day. Being the underachieving and uninvolved high school student, I get it. Luckily for me, these boys have it more together than I did and are keeping up on their studies at home. My 11 year old gets all of his work on Monday for the week. He likes to try to get it all done before Friday so he can have a long weekend. I am so grateful that we are ok in this area.
Some kids are not fine. School is an escape, in some instances, their only escape. What about those kids? Some kids have parents who are essential workers with long hours. Older siblings have to take charge of the household, all while managing their studies as well as supervising any siblings, essentially becoming a homeschool teacher. And some, like one of my 2nd graders, has a fine home life, but is still having a lot of emotional struggles due to school closing suddenly and everything getting cancelled.
And I wonder how they will be in the fall. And I am prepared, mentally, for additional challenges that we will all face. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll have a little bit more support for these kiddos, such as a social worker who is at our school for more than a day and a half per week (the half day that she is there is usually filled with meetings, so she really only is able to see kids for one full day). We have many students who have gone through or going through extra tough times (like being put in foster care and changing schools- or losing a parent, that’s not all that uncommon, sadly), and have often said that we should have a social worker everyday, we sure could use one!
Then I watch the news and listen to the cuts to education they are proposing. The biggest cut they have made in previous years was 7%. Now politicians are talking about a 20-25% cut in funding- about $2,000 per student.
That is 1/4. One fourth.
Data shows my district had 5000 kids in 2017-2018. That would be a $10,000,000 loss for my district alone. What are they going to do, have elementary classrooms with 50 kids? Will my caseload double? Will we even have a social worker at all? I am an academic support teacher, who helps students with reading or math. Will they cut my job? Or will they just cut a bunch of jobs and go fully online?
If you’ve worked in a school, you probably get it. I work in a fairly wealthy district, one that has often made the top ten ranking in our state. However, even in this district, we have great challenges. For one thing, the students who come in each year seem more and more needy and challenged. It is common for Kindergarten teachers to get a huge variety of skill sets with each new class. Some kids can’t hold a pencil or sit still for a minute, while others are reading full books. (If you are a Kindergarten teacher– KUDOS to you, I don’t know how you do it).
Upper elementary teachers don’t have it much easier. We have many students who are integrated into the general education class who have tremendous learning differences. Some are reading 2-3 years below grade level. These kids need a lot of support, including an adult available to read things to them or chunk up large assignments, plus the teachers need to adapt their lessons. Typically, we don’t have enough support to go around for all of the kids who need it, but we do the best we can, it can be difficult though.
I can’t image cutting what we have in fourths. Hopefully it doesn’t happened, some say it’s just Republicans trying to scare our governor who is heavy on the quarantine orders. But I can’t say it’s not on my mind– and makes me devastated and furious at the same time. I’m already feeling so unsure and anxious about the next school year, this just amplifies it.
I’m not sad for me, I can change my career, although I would truly miss working with students on a daily basis. But mainly, I’m sad for this generation of kids who we will be failing if we take more from the already sparse educational plate.
I’m trying to let it go. But I have monkey mind and it’s hard not to at least wonder what the future holds- but I know that worrying about it won’t make a difference.
That psychic from last November sure had it right! The lessons won’t stop coming this year. She also said that the next three years will be magnificent, so..
This has been a decent week, overall. I was pretty productive for the most part, until today. Today it was dark and dreary, rainy and stormy. I had a pretty lazy morning that consisted mainly of connecting to friends/family – which can feel lazy if you’re just texting, but it was more than that today, and I think I needed it. I talked to a few people from work about certain kids we share and I think all of the connecting helped my vibes stay higher. I didn’t mind the stormy weather, it was nice and feels like a good excuse to be lazy. I put off a shower, but took a nice long bath in the afternoon.
And some very exciting news! We are the proud owners of a new stove, woohoo!!! Ours has been not working right for awhile now, so we’ve been keeping our eye out and found a good one I hope. It’s getting delivered tomorrow morning and I’m so excited! It is nicer than ours, it is a convection oven and has an air fryer built in. I will be doing lots of cooking this weekend.