Who has mixed emotions about coming back to in-person school and teaching? In my district, we’re coming back into the classroom and school site on October 5th. The feelings I’m feeling are not what you think.
I’m excited and hopeful. I have missed the children. It will be wonderful to see their sweet little faces and to be around their energy. Like you, I miss the kids, as it is not the same on Zoom. They’re cute in those little squares, but there’s nothing like being in a child’s presence.
I also have great hope for my teachers and the experience that they will create for their students. I’m fortunate at my school site, and I work with the best educators who bring their “A” game. I am also super excited to see what the teachers and staff create.
Education before March 2020 is gone. It’s a new game. We’re going to take best practices from the past to build a new way. Good teaching is good teaching. Making changes in education is an opportunity to create something magnificent for all kids.
I’m an artist, a painter. And when I begin a new painting, I start with a blank canvas. This blank canvas can seem scary, so I pause and look for inspiration and let the canvas tell me what to do. I don’t hear voices just get a nudge where to put the first stroke, and then I’m guided to the next one. Here is my most recent creation from inspiration. It is a 24X24 mixed media piece titled, “I’m Fine.” I love the title!
Like this painting, there is an opportunity in education to recreate lessons and environments for all kids to succeed. Teachers, staff, and administrators can work with orderly inspiration and best practices to make magic.
Another problem that became an opportunity is the health safety of all from COVID-19 infection at school. There are excellent guidelines in place to keep everyone safe. We’ve also learned a great deal about this virus. I believe by following the health department guidelines, wearing a mask, washing your hands with soap and water, and keeping six feet social distancing; we will all be safe at school. Each adult will take responsibility for their health and the health of our students.
I have a friend who has worked in the healthcare industry from the very beginning of the pandemic. She was seeing seriously ill COVID patients and only recently came up positive for COVID. I asked her, “what changed as you have had no problems before. Why was this different?” And what was different was the environment had changed. It wasn’t the same as she had always done. And the most significant factor was the correct mask and washing her hands with soap and water. The good news is my friend is just fine, and she’s had a full recovery.
When one sees what is happening as a problem, one is blocked off. We are cut off from any intuitive voice, any inspiration, any ability to problem solve. And yet, if we see it as an opportunity, then all kinds of space opens up. All sorts of possibilities are available that are brand new.
So rather than thinking that it is the end of the world and that things will not work. How about putting on a new pair of glasses to shift perception? Problems are an excellent opportunity to build strength, to build courage, to tap into inspiration. So in moments, when you feel like you’re just stuck, this struggle is an opportunity.
Believing that everything is an opportunity, the problems or obstacles seem to disappear. One of my favorite actions is to leave problems alone long enough to take care of themselves.
An opportunity we seek as humans is happiness or joy. What creates or delivers joy? I believe it does not come from focusing on the problem or the obstacle. I think it comes from inspiration. In education, there is inspiration to be creative. We are encouraged to build something that serves others and is good. Our kindergartners give us numerous examples in their school day.
Inspiration comes at the most surprising times. Who could have predicted a global pandemic that would shift and inspire teachers to change education? I have a question for you. How does inspiration feel for you? What does inspiration look like for you? How do you find inspiration?
There are many different ways to cultivate inspiration. There is listening to music, walking in nature, meditation, yoga, praying, being quiet, and being aware of your surroundings. Developing inspiration is to create joy and happiness. Imagine what it would be like if you were the most inspired and accomplished teacher in the universe to guide your students to bigger and better things and a great life. Imagine being the most inspired person at your school site or in education because there is joy in your teaching rather than dread. I am all about bringing back the joy to teach.
Go inward, look inside, and you will find that inspiration as school returns to in-person instruction.