I hope and pray that your summer was filled with the restorative graces you needed to continue in this ministry. May you remember that you have been called to this work, and may you continue to have the courage and commitment needed to carry it out.
You are called, courageous, and committed.
As the new school year commences, may you take time to both celebrate all that you accomplished as well as commemorate the past year and a half.
You and your students endured, accomplished, and conquered so much over the 18 months. Celebrate those wins in communion with each other. Take time to honor the hard work of the teachers of the prior year and a half. Consider ways that you can include parents and families in these celebrations. Be specific with invitations and connections.
You taught and learned virtually.
You worked from home while quarantining, parenting, adulting, and surviving. Parents and families did the same and added teaching assistant to their resumes.
You taught and learned in a hybrid environment.
You taught and learned with masks, social distancing, plastic dividers, obscene amounts of hand-sanitizer, temperature checks and so many other different policies related to the pandemic.
Think of a way to celebrate these and so many other ways that you prevailed over the pandemic.
In addition to some sort of celebration, also consider how you might commemorate the past 18 months. From loss of life, to loss of jobs, to missed celebrations, to social isolation and loneliness, to the overall stresses of the pandemic, our re-entry into normalcy, as well as having to once again mask and distance (argh!), it is important that we allow our communities a chance to commemorate the suffering, pain, anxiety, fear and loss.
Mourn and be okay with allowing the space for people to do this. Bring tissues and patience.
Perform some sort of ritual of healing - plant something, create a quilt, construct a mosaic/mural, write prayer intentions and bring them to the altar during mass.
Commemorate. And celebrate.
Whatever this upcoming school year brings, trust in God's providence and believe that He has you in His hands, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, on your own intelligence do not rely; In all your ways be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths" (Proverbs 3:5-6).
You can - because you have - and you will do hard things.
You were made on purpose for excellence, holiness, greatness, and sainthood. Your students were as well.
Have a blessed year!