The weight of this world is crushing. It seems to bear down on all of the pressure points at the same time, never allowing for a reprieve or a chance to adjust or shift. Just a stubbornly persistent piling-on and piling-up of everything. I feel this. My partner feels this. My colleagues feel this. And, of course, our students feel this.
I am struck by the constant background noise about what will come next….what life will be like after. Nowhere is the noise louder than amongst educators. As we slog slowly toward the halfway point for this school year, there appears to be a renewed sense of urgency and, at times, panic. How are we preparing our students? What has become of the rigor we are used to demanding of our students? Where are the (often unreasonably) high expectations we have for ourselves?
How will they measure up when they enter in the fall?
But there is also the recognition that we can’t give them any more than we are already giving them. Rigor has shrunk next to the perilous state of our collective mental and physical health. Tests are secondary to students’ wellbeing. Our expectations are that they simply show up; do their best. Often, we congratulate one another because we simply show up; do our best. We can’t demand any more from them and there isn’t much left of ourselves to give.
How will we measure up when they enter in the fall?
I am concerned that our energy is misdirected. We have so little control right now, but perhaps we need to look forward. What would this look like if we began to have a conversation about how to bring them in next year instead of how we send them out this year? We know what a student should look like when they enter in a normal year…..how are we going to greet them when they show up after a global pandemic? Instead of trying to stop the current bleed, maybe we need to consider how to nourish the broken body?
In focusing on the repair and the regrowth, we may find the hope that has been elusive for so long.