Dear educators and school staff,
We recognize the unprecedented challenge all of you will face this school year, and beyond. There is tremendous responsibility on your shoulders. You play a fundamental role in learners' lives, and this year is of extra significance, as you will be tasked with helping students mentally and emotionally navigate the choppy waters of a global pandemic and the turbulence of constant racial injustices. This summer has been four months of isolation, anxieties, constant waves of information and misinformation, boredom, fear, and confusion. With schools opening up, some of these issues will fade, other issues will arise, and some issues will be magnified. Ensuring a safe and successful school year is no easy task, but we believe in you, because you always give it your all.
While we trust that this will be the case, it is also important to remember to make the most of resources at your disposal, to be confident and comfortable teaching in this unprecedented situation. Here are a few to start:
Resource 1: https://tinyurl.com/edcan-resource
Resource 2: https://tinyurl.com/DIstrictAdministration
Resource 3: https://tinyurl.com/tolerance-teaching
Resource 4: https://tinyurl.com/TheJournal-resource
As leaders, it is also important to consider how your energies are impacting those around you. As Dr. Barabara DeAngelis says in her book Soul Shifts “[Making a difference] is the inevitable consequence of your consciousness in every moment. Your vibration is always making a difference.” No matter your role in the educational system, the individuals you come into contact with throughout the day pick up on your vibrations. Despite the stresses of daily life, and the added chaos of 2020, if we as educators and role models can manage to exude an aura of positivity, we will have a positive impact on those around us; as Barbara DeAngelis phrased it, “Our real work is to raise our own vibration to such a high frequency that in our presence people feel uplifted - ‘lifted up’ by who we are.” Accomplishing this can have a profound impact. Think about the children who do not have safe/comfortable home environments but have been forced to stay at home with their families for months; the Black students who have been constantly exposed to images and stories of people who look like them being abused and killed for simply being Black, and not been given justice even afterwards; the students who have lost family members or loved ones from COVID-19, while others protest the wearing of masks in belief that the virus itself is a hoax. Even for those who may not have been impacted to this extent in the last few months, the thought of returning to a social environment during a pandemic can be scary. Lakhdeep, one of our unlearn family members, illustrated this point as he shared a brief story with us the other day.
He told us that while he was taking out the garbage on Friday morning, he overheard two kids having a conversation while they waited for the bus. Given that it was one of the first days back at school during the pandemic, one kid asked another kid “what if you die?”, and in response the other kid started crying.
The fears and anxieties surrounding this year’s return to school are real. Since even adults are unsure of what to think or feel, this is amplified for the youth. Some students have mixed feelings, other students feel an array of negative emotions caused by events of the last few months. In many cases, these experiences act as extraordinarily heavy burdens for students to carry, and while educators may not be able to solve their problems, by vibrating on a high frequency, you can spread your light and help students overcome their issues. Even without directly engaging in solving their problems, you can lead by example, paying attention to the energy you are putting out into the classroom and the universe, as it can impact all in your environment, for better or worse.
Again, the task of being a role model and leader in these chaotic times will be extremely difficult, but we recognize you, and we trust that you will give it your all. Thank you for doing what you do, and continue to lead by example.