It Should Come As No Surprise

Note to the reader: Today’s call to slice was preceded by these two questions: What are the moments you are holding onto? and What are you letting go of today? I was upset while I was writing my slice but when I read these two questions I was able to calm down. I realized that I am in control of how I respond to problematic situations, in this case school re-entry in the fall. My blog post starts with anger and disbelief and ends with the only thing that will sustain me moving forward: HOPE

The province of Alberta had previously announced that on August 1st it would make public the school re-entry plan for the fall. Like most school boards and school districts in North America, the province was exploring three different scenarios: “near normal”  in-school return, a hybrid approach, and remote schooling.

Many of us had been waiting with bated breath to hear the final plans for school re-entry.

So, it should come as no surprise that the Ministry opted for scenario #1 given its openly hostile relationship to education.

It should come as no surprise that there are hardly any provisions to ensure that everyone stay as healthy as possible.

It should come as no surprise that the Minister of Education dodged the question about class size limits for the fall.

It should come as no surprise that this announcement comes on the heels of a spike in COVID-19 cases in our province and in other provinces in Canada.

It should come as no surprise that during the press conference teachers and other school staff were hardly mentioned in the re-entry plans.

In fact, it should come as no surprise that the province’s re-entry plan is really NO plan at all. (The lack of detail was a glaring and worrisome piece in the re-entry plan.)

It should come as no surprise that school staff will be responsible for monitoring student and staff symptoms. (No one know which staff this refers to exactly.)

It should come as no surprise that disinfecting surfaces will be done by…who knows?

It should come as no surprise that the press was told they couldn’t do any follow-up questions even though they tried.

It should come as no surprise that when asked what would happen if parents chose not to send their children to school the Premier spoke of “truancy laws” (“we have them”) and “homeschooling” (Alberta has an extensive home schooled population).

It should come as no surprise that many teachers are angry at not being heard or consulted about the school re-entry plan.

It should come as no surprise that I am feeling a little anxious and concerned.

I need to redirect my anger so I can channel it for my well-being, that of my family and for the sake of my students and their families.

I am hopeful – because what else can I be? – that my school board will provide more direction and specific guidelines than what we heard today from the Ministry of Education.

I am hopeful because my school board has a reputation of being upstanding and compassionate with teachers, students, parents and the community.

I am hopeful because, if not, I will fall into despair; I can’t let that happen so close to having come out of a very dark hole of depression.

I am hopeful.

Cross posted to the Two Writing Teachers Tuesday Slice of Life Challenge.

11 thoughts on “It Should Come As No Surprise

  1. Kathleen Neagle Sokolowski says:

    Oh Elisa, I feel this. I am glad the SOL questions helped you shift your mindset to a hopeful one as you wrote out your frustrations. I think there is going to be so much we face this year. I am feeling anxious about it all and not even sure of what I want to happen. Numbers where I am (Long Island) are better right now and I really want all of us to be back in the building- but only if it can be done safely. So many questions.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your comments, Kathleen. A part of me really wants to go back to a f2f situation, but I’m concerned about the lack of clarity and downright disregard for teachers’ concerns from the Ministry. Right now, I don’t think there is much we can do but wait for the school board to help us figure this out. I’m sure I’ll be writing more about this later in the fall. Stay safe.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Elisa, I too am struggling with these same struggles. I feel as if I’ve been hanging on every word of news from our local government and school districts. I teach in a small hybrid school, which serves the homeschool community. Many of these parents want their kids in a face to face program and that’s why they are sending their kids to our school. So, there is an expectation that classroom learning will go on. When you say, “All this leaves me feeling anxious and concerned,” I am in total agreement. After all, we as teachers, are first responders in this bizarre crisis. Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Angelina, I can understand parents wanting their kids to go back to a f2f environment and I know that as educators many of us want the same thing. I’m hopeful that our school board administrators and school leadership have a better plan than what was put out today by the Ministry. I was so angry and anxious after the announcement, but writing about it helped me keep things in perspective. Stay safe.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. The repetition of “It should come as no surprise” was really powerful. It is sad and frustrating that your words ring true, even though I don’t live in Canada. I appreciate how you changed the refrain to “I am hopeful because” It sends a powerful message, that you choose to focus on what you can be hopeful about.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Terje says:

    Your frustration is an understandable and natural reaction to the situation you are in. It takes strength to redirect the emotion and switch to hope. I hope that your school board will continue to be compassionate.


  5. Thank you for your encouraging comment, Terje. Since I wrote this blog post, our superintendent has tweeted out that some students may not be able to participate in a f2f environment right away, therefore the school board will provide an online learning option for them. That means there have to be teachers who will be doing that, so I think this is definitely not over yet. Take care.


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