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At my school, we just finished week one of distance learning for all grade levels. And my friends have been asking me, how are you doing? And I launch into describing anything, but how I'm doing or how I'm feeling.
I talk about how excellent the teachers are in their first week of distance learning or affectionately called (DL). I talk about how my students' scholarliness humbles me in their little Zoom squares. I giggle when kinders are asked to give a thumbs-up, and they have to pull their fingers out of their nose to do it. I marvel at the parents in the background whose soft voice I can hear helping and guiding their children. I also find myself closing my office door to the school office's hustle and bustle, answering so many calls about what the passwords are, what the Zoom IDs are, and how to do a paperless registration.
So, how do I feel? I feel numb. I've never been to a war, but I feel like I'm in a battle, a physical, emotional, and spiritual one. I haven't been sleeping, and I have really low energy. I know this is a dangerous spot or rough waters to be in for anyone. I want to share how I jumped into a lifeboat. It started with taking a look at what I eat.
So, I became a vegan for seven days. You know, the old joke. How do you know if someone is a vegan? Just wait, they'll tell you.
For me, that means no more fast food and taking the time to shop and cook foods with no animal products. I'm doing it for my health and maybe for spiritual reasons.
I'm an educator, that's my jam. And I am an observer of the world. We can't help ourselves when you are teachers. We're the type that when we go to a restaurant, we push the chairs in as we walk by and correct your children if they're running around. Educators are observers.
But what I've observed is that we require a world with more kindness, tolerance, compassion, understanding, less self-pity, self-righteousness, and self-seeking. In other words, less of self. Making that change to no animal products felt like a compassionate choice.
The battle of distance learning has a march to it. To keep myself going to the beat in this time of history, I'm keeping an open mind to any possibility without trying to manipulate the outcome. I just put one foot in front of another and stay out of the future.
I get many questions about phase two or when we are returning to in-person classes and "what if" type concerns. My answer is we're still in phase one, of just doing distance learning for school classes. Let's stay where our feet are as they do what is in front of them.
I do have a written plan for the possible next phase. I am just not married to it. And staying open to adjustments and new ideas as we go along. We've never planned, created, developed, and taught this way as educators. To be leading a school at this moment in history is thrilling. I'm not running from the responsibilities, but grateful that I can shoulder them.
That feeling of being numb may have been a form of escape. Still, I think it's more having to do about just being in shock about what's happened. My energy is returning with a vegan way of eating for seven days, drinking water, getting better sleep, and keeping an open mind. I'm not afraid but excited about this moment in time and what we are creating.
I'm not drowning anymore. I'm definitely in the lifeboat. Since I'm in the lifeboat, I want to share another action that is life preserve jacket. And that's been getting into acceptance. If I'm angry, worried, or concerned about distance learning, COVID, a staff member, a district policy, it is because I do not accept that they are exactly where they're supposed to be at that moment. I can feel no peace mind until I first find acceptance. It doesn't mean that I approve of what is going on, just that I accept it. Acceptance is a knowledge that nothing happens in God's world is a mistake.
I can't change any person, place, or thing, by the way. That's one of the best-kept secrets in life. We're not in control, but I can control one thing. With acceptance, I can use that energy to change how I behave or respond. I have to change myself and how I act, such as being a vegan for seven days.
My peace of mind is inversely proportional to accepting what's happening at that moment. If I'm accepting the situation, my rights don't move in, and I don't get all "principally." I do what is in front of me with little expectations of the results.
All right. All right. I'll tell the truth. I don't have as many expectations attached to the results, but I do have peace of mind when I lower those expectations and accept. So at this moment, I'm still numb to those feelings that we teach the kids that you would describe as sad, mad, glad. But the change that I've made with being a vegan for seven days, opening my mind, practicing acceptance has put me sitting in this lifeboat with a grateful heart and hope for the future.
I hope that you will join me in this lifeboat. As we row the lifeboat, I will reach my hand out to those in rough waters and pull you in. I'm going to do that by continuing to share what's working and what's not working during this difficult time. I also will share about relationships with ourselves and the other people in a school community.
If you know of another teacher who would benefit from this work, refer them to www.lynnhardin.com and sign up for the mailing list. Or you can have them email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. I also welcome your comments and questions. Feel free to email me! Be safe, be well, and enjoy.