I recently purchased a shirt that I saw one night on Instagram. It said, “If You’re Not Angry, You’re Not Paying Attention.” This shirt and its message spoke to me. Since March 2020, I have felt so many emotions — angry, sad, happy, confused, scared, worried, tired, and full (from probably eating way too many carbs).
But seriously, we’ve never lived through a PANDEMIC. This was HUGE! Was I supposed to act like it’s a hurricane? Hello, we are Floridians — we eat, we drink, and we sleep during a hurricane. But this, this was a different feeling.
We were on our last day of Spring Break, March 13, 2020, when we heard that schools would be closing. By March 19, I was running back into my classroom to grab what I could to teach first grade online. On March 20, I learned Microsoft Teams, and by March 23, here I was in my house teaching my 19 first graders. We adapted. Their parents were supportive. My administration was phenomenal. Dr. Greene, our superintendent, sent us emails of encouragement. We’ve GOT this! [insert strong arm emoji]
Going back to the angry part. I’m not an angry person. But this pandemic has brought out many emotions in all of us. Not knowing what will happen when or if we go back into the school building is something I’m not used to in July — none of us are.
Every July since I started teaching, I’ve always prepared cute things for our school’s theme, received my list of students, and finished every bit of travel until the night before I started preplanning. Not this year. This year, I’m pleading with our elected officials to delay the start of school OR start the year online, at least until the COVID-19 numbers go down.
Now, as of the middle of July, we don’t know what will come of the start to the 2020–2021 school year, and this is also frustrating. But, as an educator who has been in the classroom for 23 years, I feel that it is not safe to go back into the brick-and-mortar setting. Why? I have a mother who is immune-compromised. I don’t want to get her sick. I have students who have health issues, and they have families who have health issues.
We should not be planning funerals for our coworkers and family members; we should be starting school as safely as possible.
Make a Difference & Use Your Voice
I’m here to remind you that you ALL have a voice. Use it. We voted for our School Board Members. Write to them. Let them know how you feel. Write to Commissioner of Education Richard Corcoran, Superintendent Diana Greene, your state senators and representatives, and Governor Ron DeSantis.
Tweet them, email them, call them. You have the right to do this! Let your voice be heard.
When writing them, be sure to personalize your letter: Tell your elected official why these issues matter in your community or state. If you have one, include a personal story that shows how this issue affects you and your family. A constituent’s personal stories can be very persuasive as your elected representative shapes his or her position.
CLICK HERE to download the email addresses and contact information for the District Council Members, Mayor’s Office, Commissioner of Education, Governor DeSantis, and more.
WRITE. TWEET. CALL. Get involved. Do what’s best for YOUR children, your child’s school, and the faculty and staff at their school.
Our “Dear Parent, From a Teacher” series helps parents obtain the tools and insight to ensure a successful school year for their children. If you are a teacher who wishes to write a guest blog for this series, please email your topic to [email protected]
About the Author
Laura Hammock is originally from Orlando, Florida, but for 27 years she has made Jacksonville her home. She is an educator, a wife, an aunt, a dance instructor, an advocate for the arts, and a new “fur mom” to a 10-week old Boston Terrier, Jack. She is also the Director of the Pine Forest Dance Ensemble. She enjoys social media marketing, dancing, going to the beach, driving top down in her Jeep, working out, choreographing, writing, and of course eating new and interesting foods. She is passionate about her family, her students and the community. She is excited to share her views with the Jax Moms Blog. She is thankful to the ladies at JM for the opportunity. She can also be found correcting grammar online as well as taking pictures of her food. She is basically a 16-year-old girl in a 45-year-old body.