The other night I watched a thriller from 1995 called The Net with Sandra Bullock, and it made me very anxious.
My anxiety did not stem from the fact that the story revolves around the paranoia of our entire lives being online and in computers and how easy it would be for evil people to manipulate it and control our entire world and completely erase our identities with the click of a single key.
I mean, that’s true enough, but that wasn’t it.
Not at all.
The movie made me anxious because the settings included places like an extremely well-attended computer convention, an angry protest, a fully-staffed office building, and the Santa Monica Pier on a crowded weekend night.
So many people, so close together.
I’m positive I had the same expression Ms. Bullock has in the graphic accompanying this post.
I just wanted to scream, “What are you people thinking?! Step away from each other!! Haven’t you ever heard of Social Distancing?”
I mean, was it ever really like that?
I can barely remember.
I taught from home for fourteen looooooong months.
I was quarantined. I stayed away from people because it was the safe thing to do.
And intellectually speaking, I knew that when things got back to “normal” that my re-integration would be an adjustment.
And I wasn’t wrong.
In May of 2021, my district said “You have to come back. You’re out of leave time.”
Not because it was suddenly safe.
But simply because I was out of leave time.
Today, I just wanted to let you know that if you have been teaching at home and are anxious about returning, what you’re feeling is absolutely okay.
It’s common. It’s typical.
But I refuse to call it “normal.”
The older I get, the more I know that “normal” is an illusion, pandemic or not.
But if you’re going back to school this fall and find yourself getting nervous and overwhelmed when it seems as if there are too many people, just remember you’re not alone.
(Although that’s part of the problem, I suppose).
What I mean is: You’re not the only one feeling that way.
This is a far-from-typical school year.
Everyone is doing the best that they can.
And that’s enough.
I’ve been saying that my two educational goals this year are:
- Don’t get COVID-19
Everything else is gravy.
So give yourself some grace.
Listen to your body and your heart.
One step, one moment, one day at a time.
There is no right way to handle this.
Whatever you’re doing to adjust and reintegrate – if it’s right for you – is right.
Trust yourself. Be kind to yourself.
Thank you for all you do for education.
Especially in these unpreced—I mean, these positively crazy days.
I know I will make it through this year.
And you will, too. TZT