By: Marysa Mitrano
A new school year is usually an exciting time for all. Teachers begin planning their new lessons, students get the school supplies ready with the thrill of seeing many classmates they missed over the summer, and some parents plan for big mile-stones in their children's life. Unfortunately as we push into seven months with COVID being one of the main news stories, we see that anxiety and uncertainty is looming in all of these parties.
As a teacher going into three full years of teaching, I don’t try to say I know best. I am someone who has no kids, and no underlying medical conditions, nor does anyone in my immediate family. In most of these conversations with coworkers and friends who have children, I’ve been doing far more listening than speaking. I truly believe that this has been something valuable I have learned throughout this summer. Some of my coworkers who are also parents are struggling with what life at home will be like for their child if they have to go in. Do they hire a babysitter? Do they try and see if they can work remotely? There has been an added amount of pressure for teachers as we step into this new school year.
Like I said, I am not the underlying opinion of teachers, but I believe that if you are a teacher you get into the job to be a support to the students. To help them grow and realize their full potential. COVID has put teachers in a tough spot, for they know that they need to support the students which is always better in a classroom, but is it worth risking their life or a loved one?
I hope that as a society we can try to listen more. Listen to what people are trying to say, and instead of being “right” just showing them compassion. Compassion for parents who are having a hard time deciding on what is best for their kids. Compassion for the school districts making the tough decision to go back or to not go back. And for teachers, who no matter where they are will always want to help their students realize their full potential.