As this school year winds down, I think it is safe to say this is one for the record books for everyone, not just certain populations or certain regions of the country, not even specific countries. Everyone. Like everyone in the whole wide world. Everyone. Obviously, those who have been most horribly impacted are people who lost loved ones or who battled COVID-19 in their own homes. And all of the essential workers – in hospitals, in grocery stores, or delivering mail (to name a few) –  have had to be brave, whether they want to, or not, and I am grateful for all of those people who are keeping our country as safe as possible and functioning. 

Another group of people for whom I am grateful is you, our educators. In the blink of an eye, you all changed gears, became experts in distance learning, and even in the most challenging of situations, kept our children learning. Is it the same as when you were with them, face to face? Obviously, no. But the bottom line is: you did your best to make sure they were still learning. You did an amazing job of continuing to deliver high-quality curricula. Some of you gave out your personal phone numbers, which you probably never did before. You talked to your students and their parents, even late at night sometimes, because that’s how teachers are. Thank you! 

As former classroom teachers, the Mastery Manager support team empathized with the sudden challenges you now faced. We put our heads together to come up with a plan for the best way to help you transition to e-learning as quickly as possible. We began offering daily webinars to get you up to speed with delivering online learning. We loved connecting with so many educators and were humbled by the grace with which you did the impossible! Day after day, we talked with you, emailed with you, and listened as you discovered new ways to deliver instruction. I’ve said it before, and I will say it again, “Teachers are truly superheroes!” Thank you!

Like you, we all had to switch gears very quickly and work remotely, and we are grateful we are able to do so. Is working from home challenging sometimes? Heck yeah! I have a three-year-old, and a new question she asks is, “Mom, are you on a call?” She also asks me pretty much every day if it is still “Canola Virus Day,” which would have to be the crummiest holiday ever. It is adorable and heartbreaking all at the same time. I don’t know how I would do it if I was still a teacher. I really don’t. So again, thank you! 

As most of you are now counting down the days until you begin your “summer break” (and never, ever has one been more well-deserved!), please accept our gratitude, and know that no matter what the coming school year brings, we will be in it together. And just for good measure, I want to say one more time, thank you!

As you reflect on this extraordinary end of the school year, what are your thoughts? What are the takeaways? What have you learned? What have you done that you never thought you could do? What has amazed you about yourself, your colleagues, and your students?

Jenny Ward-Muñoz has been a teacher of multiple grade levels, including elementary and middle school, spanning 19 years. Additionally, she served as an administrator with a group of alternative high schools for three years, focusing on data analysis and professional development. She now uses her classroom and administrative experience to support Mastery Manager educators and offer insight into best practices and real-world application. 
She lives in Chicago with her husband, Mark, her three and a half year old daughter, Maddie, and her three cats, Nero, Barry White, and Tulla. In her free time, Jenny loves traveling, reading, and cooking.

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