Critical Friends

Week 27 – September 20. 2020 – First Week of Teaching

Oh my goodness… I am still spending my time catching up. I anticipated this. For the last month and a half, I spent the prepping and planning for orientation and I just finished working on it this week. I expected to feel tired at the start of the term. We underestimated the work. Orientation is done and I am ready to start the new school year. My productivity and endurance is less than what I had hoped for. The marathon to the start line got the best of me. Expected but I hope to catch up soon.

We have just finished our first week of school after one week of orientation. It seems that our teacher candidates from the current B.Ed. program and renewed B.Ed. program had a good start. That was my ultimate ambition. The school year started well for our teacher candidates even though it was nothing like what we had originally imagined. COVID-19 and the pandemic is extremely taxing on one’s body, mind, and soul. Our teacher candidates seem to be handling the uncertainty well.

I am feeling exhausted. Oh yes, I’ve already mentioned that. I feel tired from Zoom meetings and trying to make the most of a situation virtually. It’s almost like Star Trek. I can beam myself to any meeting at any time, but there is something about walking to a meeting, driving to a destination, and meeting people face to face that is good for the human psyche. For this reason, I am so glad to have a critical friend who I can walk and talk with. Our brief moments of connection is good for work/life balance.

We go on edu-walks. My schedule does not permit it, but I wish I could walk with her daily, but . I try to connect up with her as often as I can during lunch to drive somewhere, meet someone face to face, and to go for a walk. I love that I have a chance to connect with someone in my bubble that keeps my humanness alive. Otherwise, I would be online ALL OF THE TIME. Honestly, Zoom fatigue is real!!!

My critical friend and I talk about our kids, life, and educational leadership. We come from two different perspectives on K-12 education, but we started from the same place in education. We first met almost 25-years ago teaching secondary mathematics. Those were the good old days. I loved teaching math and it was so fun teaching across the hall from my friend. We both moved through the K-12 system and moved in different directions. No matter how different our contexts are, we often experience similar things in our professional life. We often wonder how this happens.

This phenomena of parallel working lives, as well as similar experiences with our children, surprises us all of the time but also reaffirms that we are able to provide each other ongoing support, professionally and personally. Teaching and field of education can be an isolating and lonely profession even though you may connect with 100’s of people per day. It’s so nice to have someone like my critical friend to provide perspective. She is someone I trust. We laugh and share. No judgement.

#pandemicreflection #gratitude #friendship