Mask Optional

Today was a huge shift in our district: “mask optional”, and I wasn’t there for it. This made the guilt I felt for taking another day off even more heavy. I wanted to be there for them, to walk them through it. But for B and I, it is NOT mask optional for about a week until our bodies give COVID the boot. Making the decision was tough, but I knew in my heart where I was needed most.

My mind raced as I typed sub plans, tirelessly typing, trying to explain to a a guest teacher how to move through this… how to move THEM through this. I paused, and thought about what I would do… how would I do this?

Even though brain fog has been masking my ability to think clearly these days, I had remembered that our gem of a guidance counselor had offered to help classes have conversations around the topic if we needed support. I decided that it was time for me to lean on someone and asked for her support when I needed it most. She did not hesitate to come to the rescue and eased my mind. I had hoped that the discussions and heart work we’ve done all year would prepare them for something like today, even if I wasn’t present. It’s safe to say, they did not disappoint.

8:36 am- “Your class is so great! It’s about half and half in your room… we all acknowledged that it feels weird today whether you are wearing a mask or not. But they were all happy and chatty as usual… I’ll keep an eye on them until you get back… WE MISS YOU!!!”

10:47 am- “Oh my goodness. The sub just put your video on for the read aloud – they were SOOO excited to see you!!

3:01 pm- “I was in your room today and it was a great day. You have such a sweet group and I can tell that you’ve worked really hard to set up a wonderful routine for themMorning meeting was fun- they all enjoyed sharing and had really sweet things to say. Mrs. B came in right after the clean up song and talked to students about masks. It was a great conversation and the kids were receptive and understanding of the different choices families can make…”

Be still my heart. Words can’t describe the sense of relief and pride I felt reading these messages today. I was worried sick and still feeling partially guilty for not being there. But the truth is, they didn’t need me. These kids are resilient and pure. They see beyond masks and the walls we put up. There is so much we can learn from them, which is something I already knew, but today was a really good reminder.

Part of Slice of Life by Two Writing Teachers March Slice a Day Challenge! I’m slicing every day this month. Thanks for stopping by!

6 comments

  1. It is so hard to be out! But it’s true, if we’ve established a strong community, the kids don’t actually need us. I love this line: “They see beyond masks and the walls we put up.” How beautiful to see what they can accomplish on their own!

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  2. What a celebration of colleagues and kids! “kids are resilient and pure” and “there is so much we can learn from them” — could not agree more with these words! Here’s to healthy days ahead and seeing each other fully, inside and out!

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  3. Your students are lucky to have you as a teacher! I love how you were able to have your guidance counselor come and talk with your class. Also that you shared a read aloud with your class! That is so special, even if they weren’t able to see you in person 🙂 feel better soon! I am thinking of you.

    Liked by 1 person

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