Preparing to Teach During Times of Uncertainty

I survived my first year of teaching, barely. This is not what I planned for, the 2019-20 school year. I mean it started off incredible and went so much better than I had expected. Then March came … The following is a post I had written on social media during the month of April:

On, Friday March 13th, I hung this gather sign above my door at the end of the school day. It was an early birthday present and I could not wait for my students to see it on Monday (my birthday), we had talked about needing some type of welcoming sign as we come into our class each day. 

I had no idea at the time that this set of students, would never walk through this door with our gather sign hung above welcoming them to class. 

Although, I am still their Science, Social Studies, and SSC teacher until the end of May… I will never truly engage in the “normal” learning process in our classroom again. We will never have our full class discussions about how our learning is relevant to what is going on in the world today. We will never …. 

It is now summer and I am choosing to celebrate each day as I rejuvenate, refresh, relax, and refresh (the 4R’s) so that I am ready for what lies ahead …

What lies ahead …… How does a teacher prepare for what lies ahead???

Through all of this uncertainty it is easy to slip into a moment (or several moments) of anxiety as you think of the hows, the whens, and the what ifs. This will only lead you toward stress and unhealthy decisions; keeping you from the 4R’s you so desperately need and deserve.

One of the things I learned this year at a Leader in Me school is the circle of control. We teach our students that we have a circle of control; inside this circle are the things in which we can control and outside are of which the things we cannot.

I have created this handout for you to complete your circle of control and to complete this activity with your students. Click image to print pdf.

Things I Can Control

The things I can control in regards to preparing for what lies ahead: wear a mask, wash my hands, and use social distancing in public places; choose to have fun, smile and laugh each day; create engaging learning activities for my students in Science, Social Studies, and Advisory; learn more about my content area of Earth Science, Ancient Civilizations, and World Geography; increase my skills in classroom management, Google Classroom, reading to learn, write tools, and the 5e lesson model; and choose my reaction to what I hear and read on social media and in the news.

Things I Cannot Control

The things I cannot control in regards to preparing for what lies ahead: the plan that my school board accepts and puts into action on July 27th; the budget that is allocated for my school district; the reactions and attitudes of those in my community about COVID-19; the choice not to implement a mandate for masks in my state and my city; the choice of others not to wear masks; the voices within the community about how school ought to be ran during a global pandemic; the administrators decisions of how I will need to complete my role as a teacher during the 2020-21 school year; and if classes online, classes in person, or a combination of both.

I began creating this document as I thought about returning to school next month. I will continue to add to it as the weeks go on and I sort out my feelings on the near future. If it is within my control then I do what I can to plan for it and if it is out of my control then I choose not to spend anytime worrying about it.

How have you begun preparing to teach during times of uncertainty? Please share in the comments, I would love to start a meaningful discussion on what lies ahead.

Until next time – a latte of sparkles & giggles,

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