We find ourselves at the end of another school year, and I for one do not take that lightly. In August, I penned a letter to teachers who stepped into uncharted territory to blaze a trail for our kids, their education, and most importantly their health and safety.
Much like an end-of-year yearbook message of “See you next year!” and “2sweet + 2be = 4gotten,” this feels like too minor for what you deserve, but I’ll attempt to write what would assuredly be a full page in every teacher’s yearbook for 2020-2021.
With that in mind, please indulge me as I re-invent and re-purpose the post I wrote nine months ago, this time with more respect and admiration (and with summer in mind).
I see you. I respect you. I thank you.
Thank you for your words. The words you’ve spent the year pouring into kids, whether on Zoom or in person. I hope that those words of affirmation and correction can be replaced, in part, by fun stories around a fire or over your favorite beverage with friends. That the stories you tell will be ones of triumph and maybe even stories that don’t have anything to do with kids/school/work at all.
Thank you for your hands. Your sanitized, weary hands. I hope that they can be idle for a bit. They’ve worked hard to make copies, type lesson plans, clean desks, and grade papers. Let them rest or at least let them find something that is fruitful and fun for you.
Thank you for your eyes. The noticing, tired eyes. Close them as much as you can — dream, sleep, rest. When they open, I hope that you are looking at something that brings you joy. Binge some shows on Netflix, feast your eyes on nature, and read a book for enjoyment.
Thank you for your ears. The ears that have heard the complaints and worries and the ones who have listened to countless stories and dramas of the classroom. Let them hear things that nourish your soul. Let them find music and podcasts and laughter this summer.
Thank you for your body. The body that has managed to stay relatively healthy this year (I hope) while consistently breaking social distancing protocols because it had no choice at times. Be a lazy bum when you can, hike or bike when you want, and take some deep breaths that come from a job well done.
Thank you for your mind. The vigilant, never resting mind of yours. Give it space to breathe this summer. There are a million things to plan and create, but your mind deserves the chance to breathe too. I hope you have a chance to give it room to rest.
Thank you for your heart. Your weary, worried, over-flowing heart. I know this is one place (of many, I’m sure) that doesn’t stop working overtime over the summer. You will swell with pride and teem with worry all summer for the students you ache to see, even while needing and deserving a break. My hope for your heart is that you find things and people that pour love onto you like you do others and latch on tight.
Thank you for your family. I pray this summer is a chance to renew time with them when it has been hard to do that in the busyness of the school year. I hope the summer is full of laughter and memories and junk food and road trips.