So, New Mexico says all public schools will give all students the opportunity to attend school in person on or before April 5.
You know what this means?
It’s the first day of school! Normally the weeks leading up to the first day of school involve some kind of shopping for school supplies or buying new clothes. This year? It’s March! The stores all have Easter candy on the shelves. There are no shelves full of crayons or fresh pencils!
This reality is mirrored in the hearts and emotions of the families and teachers of New Mexico. Teachers have worked long, hard hours learning new programs and creating online lessons for students this year.
They are tired.
This is normally the time of year when we start closing down classrooms: taking things off the walls, packing up curriculum, doing the fun art projects to keep our students interested. Or we take students outside to play during extra long recesses on those nice spring days.
Instead, teachers are getting desks ready and putting up bulletin boards. They’re spending extra time trying to figure out how they’ll teach the kids in person AND the kids online AT THE SAME TIME, while maintaining the rigor and engagement necessary for all students to learn and grow.
This “first day of school” feels surreal. There are always questions running through the air. Will I like my teacher? What if I don’t know anyone? Some of the mystery is gone this year. Teachers, students, and families have been working together for 8 months at this point.
The questions in the air this year are quite literally about the air. Is it safe to breathe? What if my class gives each other COVID? Will we get to have recess? Will my students know if I am smiling at them?
What I definitely know for sure is that teachers, students, and families have done amazing things in the past year. New Mexico schools and families have pushed boundaries in education no one would have guessed at before last March.
Whether your children are learning at home, have been in person at school for months, or are returning to school in person for the first time in a year; I hope you know how awesome you are! You have helped your child do hard things.
If you’re one of the families having that “first day” in April, good luck! We want to see all those FIRST DAY pictures!