The last month of 2020. What a year we have had. I have a new found definition of the word TIRED. Did you think we would make it to December? The amount of adjusting and sacrificing that you have done this year is tremendous. What you have taught students and taught yourself under the most difficult of times is beyond belief. I am so proud of you. Daily I see how you have continued to do the best you can for your students. Lately I've heard so many of you struggling and I acknowledge your frustrations because I feel almost all of them as well. I have expressed countless times to various district admin the fact that some of you don't feel appreciated, heard and/or safe. I know many of you have also directly shared your frustrations as well. It is noteworthy that we live in a state that has union protections and that you see the need to continue to protect our union because we have to keep it strong. Imagine always (pandemic or not) living in a situation where the executives and management can always just change terms and conditions. It's taken a global pandemic for it to happen here and luckily we have been able to still have conversations on issues and have some input and impact because of union strength.
I've said often to some that we never make everyone happy at the exact same time. Unity doesn't always mean equality. What we try to do is just affect change by doing the most good for the most people when we can. We see in our district and the communities we live everything ranging from the consequences of politicizing science to viewpoints in how to interpret the loose SED/DOH guidelines and the union somehow, becomes the target of the frustrations because everyone wants an actionable outcome that they agree with. I truly wish it was that easy. So many things are happening at the same time and the amount of change can give anyone whiplash. We are all hoping that things improve, that people show respect for each other's health, and that the vaccines are safe and effective.
Your local union continues to advocate daily on anything from the impact of the remote learning platform, APPR, as well as also preparing to start negotiating again because our one year contract expires in June. I respect the commitment you make to this calling you've chosen as your career. Please do not let this current 'pandemic teaching' and the unrealistic expectations for we are functioning under take away from the fact that you are a great educator. No one should be expected to perform the miracles that you have already been asked to do since March 2020. I read a statement that I am paraphrasing to share with you- "We are going through something that we did not sign up for mentally or emotionally, nor were we trained for it. We are doing our best and that's enough. Show yourself the same grace you have always shown your students".
Along with all of that I want to definitely take the time to say Happy belated Hanukkah, Merry Christmas, Happy Kwanzaa and New Years greetings to one and all.