We all know what that means: going back to school. This year, it will be a little different.
Wear a mask!
Don’t wear a mask!
Wash your hands!
Check your temperature!
Don’t touch your friend!
How do we clean our area?
Teachers are scared. Parents are feeling unsure. Our children are watching everything we do. We are all struggling to adjust to our new reality. We don’t know how it is affecting us or how it will affect us in the future. The truth is that it is here, and we have to deal with it today and now.
And friends, we call this grief. The change in one’s normal habits or behaviors can cause grief.
We know that teachers and children will both face struggles adjusting to this “new” normal.
Teachers and parents need to do their best to maintain some consistency in their homes, classroom and even online. Assign a time and a place for children to talk about how they feel. Don’t ask them how they are feeling because they do not know. You will get the “I am fine” answer.
Instead, talk to them about how you are feeling. Use feeling words in your conversations. It is alright to use simple feeling words, such as the following:
I am so sad that you will not be able to play football this year. I was looking forward to attending the games.
Then just wait for them to respond. Trust us, they will.
You need to be talking as well. Not just about the classroom set-up but also about how you are feeling.
Become close friends with your colleagues and, in a group, plan to get together on Zoom or over a private Facebook group and hold genuine conversations about your broken hearts.
Below are some effective lead-in questions for your group that you can use every week.
What are the top three things that you are struggling with this week?
What has surprised you this week?
How are you feeling emotionally?
This, friends, is just the beginning of healing. It is not all of the tools that we are sure you will need this year. However, it is a great start.
We see you in the trenches. We honor you. We are you.