I get this question a lot, especially because I am expecting in Septemeber, as this year is going to be different for many reasons. I did an Instagram post on the matter but felt like it needed a bit more of an in-depth answer.
Being pregnant with the COVID pandemic has definitely had its fair share of pros and cons. One huge con being that they don't really know the effects on pregnancy, and I am not going to be the one who tests it out. I have all sorts of reservations about starting off the school year, and it really depends on how we start and when. We just voted not long ago on a new calendar start date, and with my commute being 45 minutes, I really don't see myself wanting to put my life at risk to teach for just 2 weeks. With that being said, I have anxiety over this decision because I am a perfectionist and the idea of not starting things off scares me. I go back and forth and daily.
The new school year is bringing a lot of scary things, and I for one feel completely blessed that I will have the privilege of being on maternity leave at a time things are so uncertain. I also think I am lucky because, for the most part, my district has been pretty open with their plans and decisions. They host weekly LRC meetings where all staff and teachers in the district can hop on, ask their questions, and give their feedback. They have committees with teachers and admin to come up with solutions in many different categories ranging from online learning to safety. Obviously there has been no sound decision yet, and that gives me all the more anxious feels.
Like I have said time and time again, I am someone who NEEDS to know the plan. I am a planner, I love mapping things out and knowing exactly what I am going to do. I hop onto those weekly meetings clutching onto the idea that finally, I'll get more answers when in reality it leaves me with more questions. I was also hoping to get my maternity plans all taken care of, which obviously is non-existent and the moment (because how does one plan to be gone, when they have no idea how the structure is going to be?). So for those that are stressing about the unknown, here me when I say I feel you!
I also have been getting a little sad because of a few things. I think about all the fun, joy, and hands-on group activities I bring into my classroom. Those aren't exactly compliant with the CDC guidelines of staying six feet apart. I think about how my classroom will look because hi there is no way community areas or flexible seating spots are going to fly. Seating arrangements alone are going to be like back in the old school days of rows and that terrifies me. It's almost as if someone in swooped in and said anything fun needs to go. As if someone took the joy out of teaching. This took me a long time to get over, as those are the things that I know bring me, and even my students' happiness. What is keeping my mindset positive is knowing that I'll get the opportunity to think of new ideas to amp up the engagement in my classroom.
Trust me when I say I definitely have thrown my pity party, I've complained with text exchanges with my upper-grade team, and even liked many posts sharing why we shouldn't start the 2020 school year. At the end of the day, what gives me peace of mind is knowing that I need to have a positive attitude for my students. Whatever model my district puts out (hybrid, traditional or online) is really out of my control and I've found there is no point stressing over what you can't control. You also need to really consider what is best for yourself as there is only one you. One can only hope that districts will want what is best for students and staff, but that is not always the case. This is going to be one tough year for everyone, so sticking together is a must. As always, no matter what my district goes with, I will try my hardest to help you all in the best way I can. Remember, we can do anything if we stick together.