Dear Future Teachers,
Wherever you are reading this from, it is likely that schools in your area have been impacted by COVID-19. Whether your local districts are completely virtual, a hybrid between remote and in-person, or fully in-person, there is a lot of stress and uncertainty around what the school year will look like. However you feel about the instruction of schooling, the future of teaching itself can seem scary, especially as we delve further and further into unknown territory. As a future educator myself, I've felt a lot of anxiety about going into this field, especially seeing all the horrible things people all over the country are ~ignorantly~ saying about teachers during the pandemic. Online teaching is a challenge many of us probably never expected to go into, and we definitely didn't plan to go into the field in potentially dangerous hotspots. Given the fear, anxiety, and stress surrounding education, I wanted to write a message of encouragement to all future educators!
Whether you're starting your career this year, a year from now, or several years down the road, I want to say I'm so proud of you! Teaching is an honorable career, especially with the lack of funding that negatively impacts schools and classrooms across the country. To go into teaching, you must have a passion for what you do, and that in itself is admirable. You get to change lives! That being said, it's normal to feel fatigued with the current state of the world, and it's understandable if you find yourself questioning whether you still want to pursue teaching.
If you are questioning the future, I am here to tell you that if you are meant to be a teacher, it will happen! Don't be discouraged by the possibility of online school. If you do have to teach online, it will be a little strange at first but you can adapt and overcome! Hopefully you won't have to teach online for the remainder of your career (fingers crossed!), but every day there are more and more resources and information popping up to help you master the online classroom and shape the future of education.
Another thing to remember is why you want to go into teaching in the first place. Most teachers go into the field because they have a desire to make a positive impact on the lives of their students. If this is you, please remember, now more than ever, students need quality teachers! Online learning is inequitable due to the fact that many students are without computers or WiFi at home. Many students run the risk of falling far behind their peers. However, some school is better than no school. Several studies have focused on a seasonal effect on student achievement, finding that the opportunity gap widens during the summer months due to school being out of session. Many students lose access to food and educational materials in the summer, causing them to fall behind peers who have easier access to resources. If these same students lose access to quality teachers or study materials during the school year, they will fall even further behind their peers. Students need us to be there for them, even if it's simply providing a printed packet with educational materials or lessons.
I do want to emphasize that it is important to make decisions based on your health or financial concerns! If you are immunocompromised or don't want to risk your health, you can find a district that is switching to distance learning OR take a year and return to teaching when you feel more comfortable in the physical space of a classroom. If teaching is what you want to do, and you know in your heart that is who you are meant to be, but you can't risk infection, it is okay to take a year and start your career at a later date.
Essentially, I just want to tell you all that you are going to do incredible things, no matter how your classroom is going to look. Don't give up, don't let the possibility of online learning scare you away from teaching, and don't feel bad if you have been feeling worried about what your career will look like! It's okay to go through the process of feeling all kinds of emotions, as long as you know that the work you do as en educator is going to be so meaningful, and your students WILL benefit by learning from you!
If you have any worries that you want to get off of your chest, or you just want some more words of affirmation, don't hesitate to reach out to me via my Contact Form on the Home Page or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.