#DearTeachers: I’m so proud of us all.

by | 05.3.21

Amy Campbell is a teacher in Washington. Follow her on Twitter @The_MrsCampbell.

I’ve been teaching for 13 years, and this past school year has been like nothing I’ve ever seen … and nothing I ever imagined. Flip-flopping between groups of students, teaching with a mask, teaching with a shield, teaching over a screen – it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

I work with kids who experience moderate impact from disabilities, and it was so difficult to support them remotely during the first months of the pandemic. Once we transitioned to a hybrid model, which we called “Roomin’ and Zoomin,” there were all kinds of new challenges. But my students and I are used to measuring small steps as big successes, and we experienced a lot of success this year. 

I got to know siblings and pets, and I partnered with families in a way that wouldn’t have happened under regular circumstances. Medically fragile kids were able to be together with peers, online. Some of my students joined Zoom meetings for their general education classes every day, with family support, and experienced inclusion and connection in ways they haven’t always experienced it in person – and they achieved amazing things. I saw us take something that was imperfect and learn so much. 

There were so many hard parts. Now that the school year is nearly over, I can reflect back and say, “Look, this is where we had a success. Look, this is what I learned. Hey, here’s how we can use this going forward.” But in the middle of it – teaching through the ‘everyday’ of it – things felt overwhelming. There were so many questions we couldn’t answer for students and families – and that’s still true. As we think about education moving forward, and all the challenges we still have ahead, I want to focus on something I’ve learned this year: I’m capable of quite a lot. We teachers are capable of things we can’t even imagine.  

I’ve always felt proud to teach, but wow, thinking about my fellow teachers now makes me emotional. I look around at my colleagues and think: I’m so proud of all of you. I’m proud of the profession. I’m so proud of the dignity, and the tenacity, and the ways teachers demonstrated a willingness to be learners this year, when we were tasked with doing something we’ve never done before.

I’m excited about the changes and the learning going forward, and I’m holding onto this pride: As we move forward together, I’m so, so proud to be a teacher.

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