It’s November, and like everyone in the US, I’m reflecting on the presidency – MY presidency of STP, of course (that’s what y’all are reflecting on, too, right?!?). My presidential year is winding down, and what a year it’s been. I’m trying to focus on the positives, like our successful virtually delivered conference; the amazing collaborations about remote emergency instruction and online teaching; and the open, honest, and reflective discussions about diversity, equity, and inclusion within STP. I’m so glad you got to hear from Susan Nolan last month in the Presidential blog! Susan is going to be a great leader for STP in 2021, and I will be so excited to see her presidential initiatives come to fruition! And congratulations to Linda Woolf, our incoming president-elect! I’m looking forward to more strong leadership from both of these excellent colleagues and friends in the years to come.
I want to give a huge shout out to Jordan Triosi, our ACT Director, for leading the work to convert our in-person gathering into a virtual one. He and his committee along with Lindsay Masland (incoming ACT Director) made a huge jug of sweet lemonade out of the COVID lemons we were dealt and gave us all a fabulous experience. The speakers were spot on. The tech worked well. The good times were had. And you can enjoy all the talks on our YouTube channel for the near future (or until the internet changes, which could be next week)!
Good has come from this extraordinary year, but I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the pain and sadness this year has brought as well. Teaching has never been as hard as it has been this year. I’ve always believed teachers to be superstars, but this year’s efforts have convinced me that teachers are superheroes. Typically, teachers have it hard trying to convince people that what they have to teach is both interesting and important. Being successful at that is harder than it looks! But this year has shown us that interesting and important are often the least of our concerns. People are sick. People are exhausted. People are overwhelmed. People are afraid. People are traumatized. But every day, many of those people – you teachers – are waking up, breathing deeply, digging in, and teaching. You’re learning new modalities of delivery and presentation. You are figuring out how to ease concerns and soothe anxiety. And the job is getting done. It may not be the job you were hoping to accomplish. It may not be the best work you’ve ever done. But it’s the best work you’ve ever done in a pandemic year full of racial trauma and re-reckoning, societal uncertainty, and toilet paper shortages. So, please, slap your favorite superhero brand on your chest and call yourself proud of what you’ve been able to do.
In the last few weeks of this tumultuous year, I’ll be reflecting on what I’ve been through, what I’ve overcome, what I’ve wished I’d done better, what I hope for the future. I’ve seen people lose loved ones. I’ve worried for myself and those I care about. I’ve been outraged by injustice, incompetence, and cruelty. I’ve tried to adapt to challenge and change. I wish I had more time to learn and plan. I hope we will find a way to cure or at least live successfully with this virus. I hope we can see and smile with our students again someday very, very soon.
Take care, all. You’re not alone.
STP President 2020