I had a long rant about school in the time of the plague to post today. After many attempts at coherency I finally deleted it to start again. Lets see where this takes us, yeah?
There are a lot of things that has surprised me since becoming a parent. The magnetic pull between a child’s hands and their genitals for instance. Didn’t see that coming. I had no idea that I would ever find such complete, pure joy at seeing a picky child clear their plate. Well, I imagine that I will feel that joy one day, anyway. For sure.
I didn’t know that I would feel guilty over the most insane and unavoidable things. The flavour of 2020 for me is Covid-19 guilt. Why wasn’t I better prepared for a pandemic? I should have had closets full of craft supplies. I should have been ready to jump into home school with a binder full of fun STEM activities and the patience to complete them. I shouldn’t find myself staring at walls wishing desperately for people to stop touching or talking to me.
And now… now I feel guilty for returning them to school. You know, the place where the professionals are? Yeah, I feel guilty. A few weeks ago a teacher friend of mine texted me feeling frazzled. I think she was looking for a wall to yell at but I missed that cue at the time and tried to actually make her feel better. I’m learning that isn’t always helpful, but it is my first instinct. Anyway, in the middle of me trying to reassure her that we would all get through this she stopped me cold. “What if we make the wrong choice somewhere and someone dies because of it?”
That is the reality our teachers are in right now. There aren’t enough protections, there is not a coherent plan coming from anywhere, nevermind the amount of funding that would be required to change schools to be safer. Our schools are filled with amazing people who are not only putting their own health on the line, but their mental well being also. They have suddenly taken the responsibility of trying to keep their communities healthy in the middle of a public health crisis. That is hard, and that is huge.
And I’m contributing to that. I sat down and thought about what these people are doing and how hard that must be, and then I packed some lunches and sent my kids on their way. This is the first time that doing what is best for my family might directly impact another person’s health. I never expected this. I was unprepared.
Be kind today. Especially to your child’s teachers. Put on your mask before you greet them. Wash your hands before entering their space. They are protecting the smallest and most amazing minds in your community. Protect them in return.
In other news, Ryan lost another tooth yesterday. He lost it attempting to bite his teacher but you know, you take the good, you take the bad… Seriously, though. Teachers are amazing. When she called to tell me to check his bag for the tooth she only mentioned the biting in passing. When I brought it back to that she said “Oh, yeah, I’m fine. He was just testing the boundaries since being back. He wasn’t trying to hurt me.” My child BIT HER and she brushed it off like no big deal and didn’t take it personally, because she gets that going back to school after 6 months is really hard. Teachers are superheroes.