November is a rather interesting month in the United States. The breaks that surround US holidays for those who participate in those holidays surround gratitude. Giving Thanks is a theme that surrounds much of November.
We have talked about thanks before and all the reasons we share thanks between professionals this time of year, but there is something more important about thanks this year. Districts across the country are experiencing staffing shortages unlike any other year previous. This means there are fewer paraeducators, secretaries, yard supervisors, bus drivers, and in some districts, even teachers.
The world is always changing, but this still feels very different. Teachers are still responding to the pandemic. The short game is very immediate. The long game involves changing education permanently to address the divides that still linger and will continue for the foreseeable future.
So what do we do?
We keep acknowledging that this is still different. Especially to the veteran teachers and staff. For everyone on their first year, know that whatever this is will not last forever. In the meantime, when first year staff ask questions, realize that just about everything is going to start, “In a normal year…” or “Previously we always used to…” And know that years are always going to be different.
Do not count out institutional memory. Someone will know something that the campus used to do a few years back that will hopefully jog the memory of the eldest students. These traditions are useful.
Be honest with yourself about what your emotional limits are. Knowing how much you can handle in your day-to-day exchanges will help make yourself much more useful. Everyone is being asked to do ‘more’. And that ‘more’ is eating away at the few people who are not typically responsible for those sorts of actions.
The world keeps spinning and we find ourselves with a new day all the time. We are grateful for all the support we have and the support we eventually will be able to provide in the future after this year is through.
Never underestimate the things you are going through. And that sentence may need you to re-read it again. Your experiences are worthy of being acknowledged, even if only by you. Tell someone else, even if it is a close friend.
We are grateful for you and all you do.
We will see you all in December.
Do you have any comments about this month’s blog? Do you have a question for us? Would you like to have an opportunity to pilot some materials at your campus? Find ParaEducate online here, here, here, here, and on our website. ParaEducate is a company providing materials, information, and strategies for people working in special education inclusion settings for grades K-12. ParaEducate, the blog, is published during once a month during the academic school year. ParaEducate shares their findings at conferences, through their books, and their academic adaptations.