Being a teacher and a parent right now in our country has taken on a whole new meaning. This is my 23rd year in education and I have to say I have never seen nor imagined anything like what we are experiencing right now. The emotions I am experiencing are so hard to explain.
I am the mother of a senior in high school. My heart literally hurts for him with all the big events that are most likely soon to be cancelled. He has worked so hard to get to where he is and it is heartbreaking to see his high school education ending like this. Trying to do virtual college visits to make these important decisions is not quite the same as what we had anticipated. I am also the mother of a sophomore in high school who had just advanced to Nationals in speech and forensics which will now not take place. Seeing my own kids’ dreams shatter before their eyes and not being able to do anything is such a helpless feeling. While I understand and support these decisions 100%, it is still hard.
I have been spending time this week trying to make lessons for my students to do at home during the NTI days. Trying to find things to keep my students interested and help them learn without me there is a challenge to say the least. I have done everything I can to make myself easily accessible to my students and their parents to help any way I can during this unprecedented time.
Having this time to reflect over the past week has really made me aware of some things. Most important, I think, is how imperative it is to have perspective. As a mom, I am trying very hard not to dwell on the losses we are experiencing. The silver lining here is I have been begging for time to slow down all year so I could savor these last few months with my first born at home before he heads off to college. No, this is not exactly how I would have scripted it, but I am getting so much extra time with him. Long walks with great conversations that I never would have had before coronavirus became a household term. For this time, I will be forever grateful.
As a teacher, I have always loved my students, but this experience has really opened my eyes. I find myself constantly hunting for ideas I can share with “my kids” to help them over these next few weeks. I have been impressed so many times by colleagues and parents alike, seeing what they are doing to help our children while they are not learning in school.
This time is not “welcomed time off.” It’s actually heart wrenching. Of course, everyone enjoys a break now and then, but this is different. I find myself missing my students and my colleagues every day. I work at the best school there is. We are a family. Not being together is hard. It’s hard for the kids, the teachers, the administrators, the staff, the transportation people, the cafeteria workers…..for all of us.
This is a hard time for our country and our world. My hope though, is that everyone can look for the rainbow coming our way when this storm ends. For me this rainbow involves realizing how much I love my students and how I need them as much as they need me. This rainbow includes seeing people pull together from all walks of life for the greater good of our country.
I keep looking for that rainbow in the small acts of kindness I see daily that have restored my faith in humanity. I love my #TMGenius family and I can’t wait to be back together seeing that rainbow shining brightly when this storm has passed, with a newfound appreciation for what we share.
Jan Kane, Leader, Music Teacher, Taylor Mill Elementary