I couldn't bring myself to talk about the potentially blended or online classroom of next school year this week. That's why my blog post is a bit late - I try to publish a blog each week on Tuesday mornings. Sorry about that.
What I mean here is that I couldn't bring myself to talk about what we teachers will do to support our students next year (a super important topic, right?) when an even more important issue is at hand; and, when this year, let's just face it, has been anything but normal or even manageable. So, I'm taking a break from the recommendations, the advice, and how-tos of the flipped, blended, and online classroom.
And, here's the thing. I don't have the words. Let me rephrase that... I have lots of words and thoughts and gut reactions, but in an attempt to be compassionate, supportive, and, most of all, humble, I want to turn my words into a prayer. One that I will be praying often, and one that I hope resonates with you.
I pray that the year 2020 becomes the year that we, not just as a country or a profession, but as a global community learn two primary lessons.
I pray that educators seize this opportunity to make their classrooms more accessible for their students and more sustainable for themselves. I pray that teachers find ways to continue to be a voice for their students even when they are far away.
I pray that our leaders' eyes are opened to the fact that if education is to truly have an impact, we must do more for our students than our physical buildings allow us to. We must meet the needs of ALL of our students in ways that do more than allow them to survive, but instead set them up to thrive.
I pray that COVID-19 has not widened the pre-existing achievements gaps so wide that are perpetuated by poverty and other huge social forces that they are impossible to repair.
I pray that our leaders come to terms with their perceptions and philosophies about public education and how it serves as a backbone to our society, and that they see the need to put money where it's needed... and our children deserve the funding. The future of our country deserves the funding.
I pray, Lord, that the pandemic has opened our eyes as educators to the power we hold as a child's teacher, that each and everyone of the small humans that we call "our kids," feels our care and support of them even if they are only our students for about 175 days of one school year.
I pray, that the superpowers teachers have are lifted up and noticed by our society, and that we can serve as a voice for those we educate all the way up to the governments who make decisions about what we do inside our individual classrooms.
I pray, Lord, that events that show us the division of this country, events that show us the long-standing effects of our nation's history that are very much a part of our unacknowledged identity, have an impact that opens the eyes of those who have had them closed, myself included.
I pray, Lord, that our schools can serve as a safe place for ALL of our students, and that as educators and leaders in education, that we stand up for ALL of our children in ways that is evident to both our society and to the individual children and families that we serve.
I pray that we recognize the importance of and absolute necessity for racial reconciliation, that educators educate themselves, that they remain humble, open minded and willing to listen to others even when it's hard for the sake of making a better (present-tense, not just future) world.
I pray that educational leaders see the need to change how we talk about our history, that we understand that history is defined by who writes it, and that there are voices that are not being heard, and in not lifting up certain aspects of our history we are stifling a better future for all.
Father, above all else I pray that we each individually see the value in each individual person and what it means to show love. Not lovey-dovey, feeling love. Nope - instead, agape love... the kind of love that is visible by action. That even when it's hard, we show through our actions what it means to love our neighbor.
I know you have a plan, Lord, and it's bigger than my small, human mind can fathom. I will never understand it. But I trust in your goodness, and in how you guide me to take each step.
This humble, human educator prays this in Jesus' name.