By Guest Blogger, Shannon Blair
Along with physical fitness, my mental wellbeing became a priority last spring when life-as-we-knew-it was altered; therefore, I’ve taken advantage of some workshops with skilled professionals through my workplace. Two bits of wisdom have especially resonated this week as the 2020-21 school year approaches:
1) Change is hard–but inevitable. I must face it bravely, creatively, and positively. There will be no memories made this August where my kiddos board the bus for new adventures, but there will be other special moments.
2) It’s okay to have sadness about the “good ol’ days” AND enthusiasm for my children’s first days.
That’s why I’m 100% committed to being encouraging but also honest with friends and family when I experience burdens in a remote learning and working environment.
My game plan? Out with the old (school) traditions, and in with some new ones!
Old: New outfits and backpacks
New: Zoom-worthy tees and fresh haircuts for 8 am webcam adorableness
Old: Rad lunchboxes for cafeteria mayhem
New: Rad lunchboxes for al fresco picnics and midday digital detoxes
Old: Bus stop pics at 7 am
New: 1st day pizza supper at 6pm with neighbors followed by cookie cake inscribed with “Remote Learning? You got this, Smart Cookies!” and a “Covid19 Class of 20/21” group pic.
Old: School supplies shopping trip
New: Crafting our own bulletin boards for weekly schedules and login codes, utility carts to house headphones and workbooks, bins to house independent (and hopefully healthy) snacking, shower totes for portable IPad and Chromebook docking/charging stations, and time timers to aid focus during flex assignment time.
I’m also giving myself some back-to-school HW as a parent and person:
– Be kind to myself. The weekend prior to day one, I will enjoy a little at-home spa pampering. I am also setting up a girls’ night in/let’s “wine” about it/Hamilton viewing party once school is underway.
– Show grace to the teachers and staff. Period.
– Lead my children with honest conversations AND a can-do mindset. I’ve printed out a schedule/routine that might work for our family. This week, we are going to discuss it after dinner one evening. I will explain that, while it is an imperfect plan, it’s still a plan. We will set a goal to revisit it each week.
Most importantly, I will be honest and let them know that I, like them, have big feelings about the unknowns AND that I have big feelings of excitement about seeing them grow and overcome in ways we’ve never experienced.
Coming in September…
Interview with Natalie Papier of Home Ec. about designing for remote learning spaces that work!
Shannon Blair is wife to Sam and mom to Jay (10), Nora (7), and Tater (78 in dog years). When not teaching writing at Central Piedmont Community College, she can be found getting muddy in the garden, wreaking havoc in the kitchen, running and then un-running with a local craft brew, struggling to achieve Crow pose, reading, or trying to figure out which story to tell next. Stop on by and see how she can help you tell your stories too at pinkpenwriting.com.