I have been reading a lot of articles lately about schools. None of them are shocking. Anyone who has taken a step in a school this year knows it. This is the worst year of education most of us have ever seen. The kids are not okay. The teachers are not okay. Even the overly patient para educators, librarians, custodians, and secretaries– none of them are okay. We are still in the midst of a global pandemic, trying to navigate what has happened before and what continues to wreak havoc. We keep trying to carry on and “get back to normal,” but we really need to stop and recognize, this year is not normal.
I made a joke once that I need a sign in my office where I can note how many days it has been since I have been yelled at, kind of like the OSHA signs for injuries in a workplace. I may not be able to note a day. My front office staff, some of the kindest and most understanding people you’ll ever meet, get hit the hardest. Not a day goes by that someone doesn’t complain about policies or Covid restrictions, often very unpleasantly. My staff smile and nod, knowing that the frustration is not personal. Still, it breaks my heart that they are treated this way.
Having this last week off to spend time with family and friends and being able to take a step back from things, I realized just how stressful school is right now. The muscles in my back actually relaxed a bit this week. Don’t get me wrong. I love my job. I get to have great conversations with students, help teachers with everything from tech support to class coverage, and basically problem solve all day long. It is never boring and usually quite rewarding. Nevertheless, more than ever educators are getting beat up. They are dealing with behavior from students that is unusually difficult to manage and time consuming. They are dealing with frustrated parents. Plus they have their own stress– with quarantines for their own children and the uncertainty of the availability of substitute coverage.
My point in writing this is not to tell the same story that schools are not okay, but to say, we must continue to support educators in any way we can. That means every person that works on campus. From the gardening staff to the attendance clerk, they all show up to serve our students. Each of them value an education for every child. We all want schools to stay open and continue to bring some normalcy to our communities.
Please, just be kind to all who show up to work.
And if you need to yell at someone, call your friendly assistant principal. You can yell at me. Anytime. I’ll gladly take it for my team.