By Scott Blanchette
This year has been a tough one for us. Our relationship has been through so much over the past 12 months. We’ve been forced to change our ways, go long distance, and test our commitment to each other like never before. Yet despite all that, my love for you remains strong.
Before the pandemic, loving you was easy. It was familiar and routine. It was the feeling of walking out of a classroom and knowing that I executed a near-perfect lesson. It was seeing a student smile at one of my stupid jokes or seeing that figurative lightbulb go off in their head when they made a deep connection to what we were learning. It was giving high-fives and fist bumps in the hallway or sitting next to them at their desk to help them stay focused.
Now, with one-way traffic patterns, limited social interaction, and an ever-changing combination of in-person and remote learners, I’ve come to see you in a whole new light. My passion toward you has only grown stronger as we’ve navigated these changes together. That same love I had before is still there, it just looks a little different. It’s the challenge of planning engaging lessons, for students both in the class and at home. It’s the comfort of a new routine that includes sanitizing every square inch of my classroom multiple times a day. It’s the unpredictability of each day, like when a student says, “I didn’t think your face would look like that,” after seeing me without a mask for the first time. (Still not sure whether that’s a compliment or an insult.) Finally, it’s the surprising resilience of young minds that I’ve come to love most about you during this time. Seeing a community of teenagers adapt to a constantly changing world has been a beautiful thing to witness.
So what I’m here to say, Teaching, is that my love for you is unconditional. It is not dependent on a physical space or the use of certain materials. It has no expectations for what the future may hold for us because I know whatever it holds, we’ll face it together. And I know this love is mutual, because I feel it everyday. I love you, Teaching, and I always will. For better or worse, in sickness and in health, through COVID and beyond.
See more Landmark Stories.
This story was first featured in the Fall/Winter 2020 Lantern Magazine.