Resilience & Reassurance
Four weeks ago, when we planned this blog post, the theme was “2022’s word of the year is resilience.” That just seems like a bad joke at this point, because resilience is what you need after the crisis–and we’re back in the middle of crisis again.
As hard as this moment is, your school is poised to meet it because of the tremendous work you’ve done over the past twenty months. You began by figuring out how you could deliver your academic program when your teachers and their students were all at home. You built expertise in areas you never thought you’d study: epidemiology, crowd control, air filtration. You made plans, and then remade them, and remade them again. Throughout it all, you were there for your people–for the educators, students, and families in your community. You carried their fear and their anxiety; you celebrated their victories and supported them through challenge.
You have done extraordinary things. We are grateful to you, to your strength, intellect, and compassion. You’ve upheld the first promise schools make to families: we will keep your children safe. Beyond that, you’ve done everything you can to help students be well–you have made decisions with both their physical and mental health at the forefront, and you’ve worked to ensure students have the connections with their classmates and their teachers that they need to thrive.
And there is a path through this, and that’s because you’ve assembled an array of mighty skills that you’ve practiced and refined. You can review information quickly, weigh options, and act decisively. You can communicate effectively with all of your constituencies. You have learned from the past, and you use that knowledge to inform your present actions and plan for an uncertain future.
You can do this. When you look at the decisions in front of you, remind yourself that you’ve already made these choices before in different contexts. When you talk with your community, remind yourself that you have already delivered on the trust and confidence they have in your school. And when you sit alone with yourself late at night–because we know there are a lot of lonely late nights right now–remind yourself that your school is better because of your work.
We believe in you. We admire you. We’re here for you.
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Brad Rathgeber (he/him/his)