"I Wish My Students Knew"... An Open Letter from the Teacher

... on COVID19, School Closing, and a Year Left Unfinished

This afternoon, the Governor of Mississippi announced that schools will remain closed through the remainder of this semester. I'll be honest; I expected this outcome. What I did not anticipate was the flood of emotions I felt immediately after the announcement was made. Literally right after.

I felt like I had been gut-punched with a million "What now...?" questions, and then I was immediately overwhelmed with a need to reach my students. "Google meet?" No. I can't stop crying. "Video message?" No. I can't stop crying. "A read-aloud of a totally relatable book about dealing with disappointment and emotions and..." No. This needs to be genuine. They need to hear my words.

So here I am, typing out words that, I hope, will resonate somehow with my precious students. I was going to send this exclusively through our google classroom, but then some teacher friends asked me to share it with them as well. I am doing just that, in the hopes that other teachers might be able to relate to, and find comfort in, my words as well.

This has been an unusual year for me. After 8 years at my former school, I began this year at a new school, in a new district. I walked into completely unfamiliar territory, and for those of you who have ever changed schools throughout your teaching career, you know how challenging that can be. I knew I was in the right place, but boy, it's hard to start over. For that reason, this year has been incredibly significant for me, personally. To add to that, I have had the opportunity to teach the most amazing group of students! They have helped me through this transition, without even realizing it, and I am so very grateful to them for that.

We went home for Spring Break, and with the exception of Google "Meets," I haven't seen them since. That's hard. I love my work; I invest in my students, and I am committed to their learning. When the governor said we would not return, it crushed my spirits a little.