As I wish you a productive pre-service week, I was thinking about my hopes and wishes for you. I know many of you are gearing up to return to school, and some are already back in school. There's something about starting a new year that seems full of possibilities and potential.
The last few years have been challenging, but we're looking at the 2022-2023 school year.
Here's what I hope you will experience:
I hope each of you receives support from your administration and your teams. And not just supportive comments but real, solid support. I've heard about principals, and AP's stepping in and taking a class, both so they can get to know their students AND to give a teacher a break. I hope your grade-level teams or subject teams have your back.
I wish that none of you will ever feel that you can't take a day off for a doctor's appointment, a funeral, or a mental health day because your building is short-staffed. Please take care of yourself. I've read that some districts expect that if a teacher needs to isolate, they'll either use sick leave or unpaid leave. I wish all quarantine leave be covered and fully paid for as long as you need to isolate or take care of family members. We didn't ask for this.
I wish that all the policies are extremely clear and that you have adequate timelines so that you can finish the administrative tasks in a timely fashion. There's nothing worse than having confusing directions. One of the more confusing politics has been regarding masks, how many days to stay home if infected with COVID-19, and when you can return. In dealing with an air-borne disease, adequate air exchange is essential. If your district cannot provide air filters, see if the PTSA will help or if room parents will help. And I hope you have parents who are supportive of all you do.
I hope you took some time off for yourself and your family over the summer. And as the year continues, I hope you manage to carve out time for yourself. You have to get to June 2023, and it could be tiring. And, yes, boundaries. Many teachers have challenges with enforcing limits because so much is presented with a sense of urgency. Curriculum, lessons, posting grades, meeting with parents - but guess what? All the essential matters will still be there. Your physical and mental health is worth much more.
I've heard from many teachers that they felt burnout because they loved their jobs and their students but felt the strain of trying to juggle so many demands during a pandemic - after which they were told that they were selfish or not doing a good job.
Above all, I've written about showing grace to your students - but let's not forget to show grace to ourselves and our teammates, too.
I wish you a wonderful 2022-2023 school year. I love hearing from you, so please let me know how your year is starting.
Last night, I had a lively discussion with Tonya Ward Singer, my guest on the Art of Advocacy Livestream. Are you subscribed? Ward Singer is known for her work with multilingual learners and is the author of EL Excellence Every Day. We spoke about how we can go from Silos to Synergy and how to make classrooms relevant. When she goes into schools to offer PD, Ward Singer asks, "if you could change one thing, what is the shift you could make to get the results you want?" She recommends backward design and a focus on the needs of all the students. Give the Livestream a watch, and don't forget to subscribe to the channel. I think you'll learn from it, as I did.
Finally, I'm overwhelmed with the amount of support from the Leading Equity: Becoming An Advocate For All Students book launch. I will be hosting my third of four sessions with my book study group tomorrow. If you missed the book study this summer, don't worry. I'll be hosting another event in January. You can grab a signed copy here.
Until then, I appreciate all the well wishes and words of encouragement.
"Let's continue to be a voice in Leading Equity!"
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