Re-Focus & Re-Engage – September 2021

Our Lead Educator Carla Meertens shares her thoughts on the proposed return to school in September:

As educators, students, and caregivers begin to re-unite and re-enter the classrooms, our hearts are filled with many emotions. First, as caregivers, we are concerned about the safety of our children once we send them back into school buildings. We wonder whether the schools can accommodate the social distancing protocols or whether they will have adequate staff to cleanse the building. We wonder if there be enough Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) for teachers and students who cannot afford to have fresh ones each day.

As educators, we also have the same concerns as the caregivers in addition to our own fears about who is vaccinated and who is not. As an educator, I am also very concerned about my students’ state of mind, whether they have experienced any loss of family or friends and how they are working through their feelings. I wonder how and if my school will provide professional development on how I as a teacher will be able to deal with my own trauma and how and what resources will be available to teachers, students, and families.

I am also concerned about my students. How will they handle returning to school after more than a year of learning from home, some of whom did not have the means to learn. How will the students be grouped for learning, will those who were able to fully participate in remote learning be in the same classrooms with those students who did not participate due to the lack of a device or internet service? How will I be able to address their learning loss? What professional development will be available to me to address these concerns?

One thing I am certain of is that I do miss my students and cannot wait to be able to see them in-person again. I am sure they have grown and become wiser. Another thing for certain that we’ve learned during this pandemic is how to be resilient. We have overcome obstacles, fought off Zoom fatigue, and learned how to stay at home. We have also learned how to use technology in a manner that promoted and supported a deeper use of a cell phone or tablet. With great trepidations, I look forward to welcoming my students back.