I owe you an apology.
I’m sorry you didn’t get the best version of me this year. I wasn’t the best teacher I could be. Normally I’m vibrant, goofy, and scatterbrained. But my vibrant dulled to lackluster. I lost the goof in goofy and all that was left was “why?” The scatter of my brain didn’t matter because it was scrambled. By the pandemic. By the daunting task of being expected to do everything that I normally do but with less time. By the daunting task of being expected to do everything that I normally do but teach virtually at the same time. By the daunting task of digitizing every single lesson.
I’m so sorry I was terrified of going back into the classroom because I have autoimmune diseases and am on medicine that makes me more likely to contract contagious diseases.
So I’m sorry I kept my distance. Keeping my distance goes against the very nature of my classroom during a regular year. It’s already hard work to differentiate and pull students out for small groups. It’s nearly impossible to do when I wasn’t supposed to be near you.
And to my home-based learners, a special apology goes out to you. Sometimes I had to ignore you in order to get through lessons. Sometimes you were an open tab while I worked in other tabs trying to grade or make the next day’s lesson. So I apologize from the bottom of my heart for not giving you 100 percent all of the time.
I’m so sorry that I asked so much from all of you, but you’ve got to understand that so much was asked of me, was asked of all your teachers. Some handled it better than others, and I’m still not quite sure which side I’ve landed on.
I’m so sorry that you were expected to grow when your world was turned upside down last year, and instead of making sure that you were right side up, that you were whole and nurtured, we had to pretend that it was a normal year.
I’m so sorry that I had to pretend it was a normal year.
I’m so sorry that the state decided that you still had to take end of the year tests. In a year that started late, you still had to sit through three weeks of testing. Three weeks of testing is ridiculous in a normal year, but the higher-ups were so good at pretending that everything was normal this year, that I’m not really sure why I’m so surprised that they made you take those tests. And even though it didn’t count for most students, it ended up counting for you, my eighth-graders taking a high school English class, because you had to pass the test to pass the course.
I’m so sorry for so many more things, but I’m end-of-the-year teacher tired.
I’m sorry that you didn’t get the best version of me, but I gave what I could–and that’s all that I could give.
Please forgive me.
I’m done pretending it was a normal year.
I’m done pretending, period.
But you know what’s real? You. You all were phenomenal despite it all. And I’m so very proud of you and all you accomplished throughout the year. That’s real, and that’s what matters.