Deep down I knew it was coming. Somewhere in my mind, I knew that we weren't going back. But I've been living like I was going to see my students again. Last night when we got the official email, I let the emotions take over and realized that my face to face time with these kids is over. I am not taking it well.
The hardest part of this is not the teaching from home part. We are teachers. We are flexible. We teach anywhere and anytime. Give us a job and we do it! We pull together and make anything work. But that doesn't mean we have to like it.
Each year we say goodbye to students at the completion of the year. I'm always sad to see them go. I just spent a year of my life with them. I got to know every single thing about these little kids and lots of things I never wanted to know. I loved them through many days that were good and bad. But it's always a good goodbye because it's supposed to happen. They move on and then I get a new group to love and nurture. It's the school version of the circle of life.
But this year I was robbed. I didn't get to say goodbye. I'm not ready to send them on to the next grade. They didn't get to finish their stories. They still have things in their desks! We are not...done.
We are still teaching from home. We are still these kids' teachers but it's not the same. A Zoom conference is not a hug. Sending a picture of work is not the same as watching them work hard. Emails are not conversations with kids. Letters are not talks. We are making it work but it feels incomplete.
I hope parents realize how important it is to let kids see their teachers each week in those Zoom conferences and Facetime meetings. Kids are grieving, too.
So parents, please, send me pictures of your kids with their work. Send me videos. Let them come to my meetings. Let them write to me. We need to see each other and know that we are all okay. We will all get through this together.