For the past few weeks, I’ve been back to work.
In an elementary school library.
With no children.
It’s like working in a store with no customers. You know they are out there. You look forward to serving them. But you can’t see them in person.
It’s a strange way to start the year. But honestly, the only thing consistent about this year has been the strangeness.
It’s really easy to get caught up in the suck. Embrace it they say. Because maybe if you embrace it, it doesn’t seem so awful.
So that’s what my colleagues and I have done. Embraced the suck and squeezed out the opportunity.
We were all a little (SAT Nerd Word Alert) trepidacious. I work at a school where all of my kids get free lunch and breakfast. Some are homeless. Purchasing tablets and laptops are not in the family budget. So our administrators formed a plan and we got tech and hot spots to them.
And we made sure that our kids and teachers understand that we are in school. Not in chaos (as my principal put it) like we were when we left in March. We get to school on time in the morning. We dress professionally. And not just from the waist up. We keep a schedule. Why? Because we go back to in-person school, we want it to be seamless.
The suck has forced all of us to be more intentional and innovative in how we approach our lessons and even our classrooms. I found opportunities to change how I teach and how my students can participate in the Battle of the Books group. It’s more fun and engaging. You know, the way learning is supposed to be.
What you can do
While it seems hard to find opportunity in adversity, there are a few things you can do to magnify what’s already out there.
- Be open to new ways of doing things. There is no “Because that’s the way we’ve always done it.” Why? Because we haven’t ever done whatever this is.
- Ask for help when you need it. That’s a tough one for a lot of us. In a world that seems so disconnected and divided, reaching out shows you that maybe it’s not so bad and makes others feel needed. We can all use connection right about now.
- Give yourself and other grace. It’s okay to make mistakes. In fact, it is the mistake making that we learn the most. Forgive, learn, and move forward. And let others do the same.
- Be an encourager. In lifting up others, you automatically lift yourself. Think of it as a cosmic BOGO.
It’s hard to learn new ways of doing things. Harder still when you feel like it’s not a choice. But in every hardship, there are opportunities to grow and be the strong, creative, loving person you were put on this earth to be. Don’t let that opportunity pass you by. Embrace it and drain every good thing you can out of it.