These last two days I had the chance to slow down, catch my breath and enjoy sessions during our Teacher’s Convention (GETCA2021) I won’t lie, I was very unsure I would enjoy doing my convention in a virtual way. One of the things I have always enjoyed about GETCA is the chance to connect with friends that I have not had the chance to see because of how crazy and chaotic our lives are these days. However, the GETCA convention people definitely rose to the challenge and presented a series of sessions that challenged my thinking, reinforced my beliefs in certain things I do in my classroom and gave me more than a few new ideas on small little things I can add to make my classroom and teaching even better. It was neat to see the multitude on teachers coming onto the zoom platforms, sharing on social media the things they were enjoying and learning.
The thing is right now, at this moment, has been one of the most challenging times for me as a teacher as it has been for many others. I have been at this for close to 20 years and have had many experiences during this time – I’ve seen teaching fads that came and went, the rise of technology in teaching and so much more. We teachers have been asked multiple times to step up, adapt and keep things going for our kids and we have done this, every time. At the heart of this, we love our kids and will do our best to be that sanctuary for them, that port in this COVID storm we are all trying to weather. Right now many of us are exhausted, burning out and just trying to get through the day the best we can. But yet, here we are at GETCA, going to virtual sessions, sharing ideas, trying to bring back things to our classrooms to help our kids.
I am not one to talk politics outside my house. I do talk with friends and colleagues about my frustrations, but I stop there. However, these last few months it has been so disheartening to see how our government treats us teachers, like we are the enemy. So often I have seen and read things about us from different members of our government and wonder what we’ve done. Time and again we stepped up as we were asked – go virtual on a moment’s notice – we did it and did our best to make it work in the little time we were given to prepare. Go back to school, but in a COVID safe way, even though our numbers and spaces were not conducive to that, okay we will again step up to the challenge. Teach asynchronous so that we can teach both virtual and in class so that students are given the option to learn in the way they are most comfortable. We did everything asked and more, and in return somehow we were the bad guys because we were questioning actions of our government.
I have seen many teachers say they are hanging up their hats – moving to a different province, retiring or looking at changing professions. Honestly I do not blame them, it is important to do what’s best for our mental health and the health of our families. There are those of us though that continue to do our best to navigate through these times. It is through things like GETCA where we can join together, even in a virtual way to just stop and just breath for a few moments. We can talk, learn and remember why we love this job we do. I’d like to think we will get through this, even as horribly hard as this year has been, I have had moments where I have laughed and smiled. GETCA gave me a few of those moments these last few days and I thank the convention committee for that.
To everyone reading this, please know you are amazing. You might not feel this way, but you have a group of kids that will be excited to see you come Monday. They will be thrilled with what new and exciting things you have to share, or just happy to be back together again. I know I can’t wait to share the new ideas I came across from my GETCA experiences.