The other day, I was in a meeting with several staff members planning for an upcoming staff meeting. We all felt frustrated with the limitations of our abilities to teach and reach out to our neediest students. We hated asking parents to do one more thing at home, especially when many of us are parents and know what the challenges of home schooling and working full time entail. We saw our glasses as half-empty!
After much discussion, we decided that if we were all feeling this way, we could only assume that other staff must be in the same boat. We then realized we were focusing on the negatives and completely abandoning the accomplishments that we have achieved in the past 2 months. We determined that we all needed a reminder of what we have been able to do from home and to see our glasses as half-full. So today, our staff meeting is going to be a celebration of our accomplishments!
But let’s be honest here. It is not just teachers. I haven’t heard a lot of people in the media actually talk about what is happening to our society, so I am going to name it now. We are dealing with DEATH. Our life as we knew it BC has deceased and we are all grieving!
According to the work of Elizabeth Kubler- Ross and David Kessler, there are six stages of grief.
- Denial- We simply cannot believe that this is happening to us.
- Anger- We display feelings from a minor annoyance to complete rage and everything in between. It is in this stage that we play the blame game. We blame the bat soup in Wohan or the person who is not socially distancing properly in the grocery store. Anger is a way to assign structure to our grief.
- Bargaining- The if only stage. We want to return to the past, so we begin to analyze our present. If only I had done xyz, then maybe today would be different. If only I had known how long this was going to last, then I could have prepared myself and my family better…
- Depression- We are overcome with sadness, loneliness and desperation. We do not know how we can go on living like this.
- Acceptance- We have found a way to make a truce with our grief. While we will never feel the way we did before, we can find ways to accept the loss and move forward.
- Finding Meaning- This is when we take our grief towards finding meaning, acknowledging positives amongst the pain and honoring them.
So today, I encourage you to fill your glass and toast yourself for all you have been able to accomplish. Find the meaning in your grief by recognizing what you have been able to do during this time. Acknowledge the achievements of others and send them a note or give them a call and let them know that you are proud of what they have been able to do during this challenging time.
In case you are wondering, here is what I will be celebrating today:
- I have successfully learned about Google Meet, several Google Add Ons, Screencastify (including Editor) and Seesaw, using all of these tools to help me connect with my students and families remotely.
- My co-workers, who have jumped right in to help me address the needs of my most struggling students at home.
What have you been able to accomplish? What have you noticed that others have been able to do? How have you found meaning? What will be in your glass?