Why So Sad? (Teachers During COVID-19)

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I get it. I should be incredibly grateful and happy right now. And I am grateful. I truly am! I get to stay home and safe with my kids and still get paid. It’s unfair really for all of those out there who either have to work in unsafe environments or have to stay home and lose pay or even their jobs. To you all, I am very sorry.

And yet…I’m not happy.

I just learned that we, as high school teachers in my district, are essentially done instructing for the rest of the year. Our students are supposed to spend time on Khan Academy every day to continue distance learning. As teachers, we will continue to have meetings and discuss curriculum for next year, but that’s about it.

So why does that bother me so much? Why, instead of being happy that I will have so much extra time for myself and my family, am I so broken and sad?

Because I am a teacher.

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It’s who I am. It’s my identity. If I can’t teach, then what’s my purpose? Now, I know that may sound a bit dramatic. I’m still a wife, a mom, a friend, even an author. But teaching was and is one of my biggest identifications. People ask, “What do you do?” I say, “I teach.” Now, it’s like my identity as a teacher has been stripped away from me suddenly and without warning. And I realized all too late that I should have used my time with my students more wisely. Just one more conversation, one more smile or compliment, one more lesson, one more inspiring word of encouragement. One more chance to make a difference in their lives.

I miss my kids. I feel cheated.

Aside from all of that, I guess there’s also the shock to the system that this definitive announcement represents. I can’t pretend anymore. This world is not the same and will never be the same. MY world is not the same and will never be the same. I think in the back of my mind, I was holding onto the hope that things would somewhat go back to normal. When I started teaching my kids again, even from a distance, that would mean one step back to the way things were. Back to normal. Teaching would make it seem like the earth was still spinning and life was still happening.

But things are not normal. Yes, the earth is still spinning and life is still happening, but not in the same way. And I’m going to have to get used to that.

We all will.

~ by Dusty Crabtree - Author of Shadow Eyes on March 27, 2020.

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