In just a few short weeks, Ontario teachers will be returning to the classroom for the 2nd year of Covid teaching.
Let me tell you, the first year was no picnic. You probably heard about it. But maybe you’ve let it slip from your mind or blocked it out, since you don’t have to fully live it. Well, the teachers in Ontario are preparing for round two – and I promise you, we’ve not fully recovered from round one.
That’s what the summer months are for – a reminder – they are not a holiday. The “time off” that teachers get is unpaid time. Even if the salaries are spread out over the year (still, in many places they are not). Any day off from the classroom is an unpaid day. The days in July and August are recovery and replenishment time. That is when most teachers rest, relax, and rejuvenate themselves so they can tackle a new school year with positive energy. (or any energy for that matter)
In my nearly 25 years of teaching, I’ve generally needed a full two weeks in July to just sleep, lounge and clean my clothes and home to begin to feel like a normal person again. Yes, I have travelled, not since early 2019 of course, but in past summer months I have and that has definitely been a part of refilling my cup with excitement to face another year.
This summer was different.
This summer it took a full 24 days of June before I BEGAN to feel like myself again. Then, I’d have a pretty good day or two, but need another full day of rest to recover from that! So the summer of 2021 has been a total on again/off again kind of lame adventure.
I’ve gardened – a lot. I’ve binged all sorts of things, mostly comfort shows that I’ve seen one hundred times already. And I’ve tried to declutter my house. Last weekend, my mother and I had a day trip – our first in three years. It was lovely, but a bit surreal at the same time.
So what is my point? Well, my point is, that in the past (pre-Covid) hundreds of people would slyly point out the July/August break and show their jealousy because their employment isn’t structured the same way. THIS year, as the teachers around you return to the trenches, keep in mind, they’ve all been in self-preservation and healing mode for the past 6 weeks. All the while preparing for another year of potential chaos as we face new variants and challenges with keeping everyone safe.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m actually looking forward to working with my kids again and seeing my colleagues because I hope we will all be in the building and I’ll actually be able to see them this year. But the recovery is continuing and the fear, hasn’t really gone anywhere.
Plus, it is a contract negotiation year. So, there’s that too.