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"You continued to show up." A love letter to teachers, from 2020.

For teachers, 2020 will go down as the year that stretched them to breaking point.

Now, I know how December goes for teachers and suffice to say, I’m well aware that I have a clock ticking to get this love letter to your screen before the literal and metaphorical hangover kicks in and reading anything at all requires waaaay too much brain power.

Watch: A thank you to all teachers, everywhere. Post continues below.


Video via Mamamia.

To a teacher, December usually goes one of several ways: 

One: For the first time perhaps all year, you have a moment to stop and breathe. Your body doesn’t know what the hell is happening and the sudden evacuation of stress hormones leaves you bed-ridden for the first week of the break. Joy.

Two: You get WAY too excited at the staff Christmas party and spend the next few days with crippling anxiety, thanking the high heavens that you don’t have to face your colleagues for six more weeks. Not speaking from experience. 

Three: You spend the first half of the break trying to remember how to relax. By the time you’re in your groove, you’ll either be extremely responsible and start actually writing course outlines and lesson plans for the upcoming year – OR, you’ll keep procrastinating, trying to remain calm as the mental chatter begins to ramp up at a rapid pace. Also not speaking from experience. 

This is all after regular teaching year, which 2020 certainly was not.

On a regular year, by the time December rolls around, report cards are written and Christmas concerts, assemblies, graduations and classroom cleanups are complete, you are emotionally, physically, mentally depleted. 

But 2020 was not a regular year.

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For teachers, 2020 was the 'regular' (and unreasonable) workload... on steroids. Double the workload, double the emotional fatigue, double the vino. Or so I heard. 

And yet, despite the fear, the stress, the worry and the fatigue of 2020, teachers continued to show up, as teachers often do; because they value their role as educators and love their classroom of students.

Because underneath it all, teachers are a crazy bunch of junkies who love the job despite the relentless conditions, and continue getting their 'hit' from the small, life-giving moments that make all of that, worth it.

Listen to Mamamia Out Loud, Mamamia’s podcast with what women are talking about this week. Post continues below.

Sometimes, it is the hit from heartfelt thank you cards from students and parents that reignites your flame to get you through another year.

Sometimes, it is the moment a student 'gets it' and has confidence in their ability again. 

This year requires an extra hit – and let’s be honest, it’s not coming in the form of a massive bonus for extra DOTT (duties other than teaching)... so here it is. 

For the unprecedented and uncharted territory you navigated so valiantly this year, thank you. 

To the teacher who felt like 2020 was your breaking point, to the teacher who felt like your dedication and commitment went unnoticed, to the teacher who put everyone else’s needs before their own this year, thank you.

Thank you for applying band-aids, getting sneezed on and teaching to packed classrooms while many others practised safe social distancing and began to work from home.

Thank you for trying to maintain normalcy and routine for your students when life was anything but normal. For greeting your class with a smile after you spent the morning crying for the family you can no longer see, or the job your partner lost.

Thank you for learning and executing new online programs almost overnight so that students learning from home weren’t disadvantaged and for responding to the 8031 million emails per minute from students and parents who were just as confused as you.

Thank you for the sleepless nights you spent worrying about the students who you know have a turbulent home life, the students who you know do not learn this way and the students whose mental health suffered in isolation.

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As the summer break commences and you take the much needed time to recharge your batteries, there are so many students, parents and communities who were directly or indirectly impacted by your constant dedication and commitment to your students, and perhaps 2020 is the year the rest of society can truly see all that you do.

2020 has shone a light on many things. 

One which can no longer go unnoticed, is the value and reliability teachers give to our society, and for that, thank you. Your work is worth so much more than you are often given credit for.

Because of you, there are students who will tell aunties, uncles and grandparents over Christmas lunch what they learnt at school this year.

Because of you, there are families who were able to keep treading water, knowing their kids were in safe hands.

Because of you, there are students being 'treated' because their parents are just so proud of their school report, despite such challenging territory.

Because of you, students are stepping into adulthood; getting ready for their first year of university, or a job they can’t wait to start. 

Because of you, some students will secretly get excited about getting their textbooks and stationery for a new academic year.

And let’s not forget that because of you, alcohol, caffeine and chocolate businesses keep running. 

As we approach 2021, may your staff party shenanigans be forgotten, your hearts be full of pride, your batteries completely recharged and your wine racks generously restocked.

Yes, 2020 was a sh*t-show, but teachers provided the toilet paper. And now we know how society really feels about toilet paper.

Miss Mindset (Breanna May) is a writer, motivational speaker and mindset coach with a background in law and high school education. When she's not diving into all things psychology, personal development and philosophy, you will find her in the gym, or at the pub – because, balance. Follow her on  Instagram and Facebook.

Feature Image: Instagram.

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