From our Head of School
April 27, 2020
Welcome “back” Bellwether!
I hope folks are doing well and were able to enjoy some of the sunny days we had last week! I’m ready to start seeing more green in the mountains!
We are getting into the homestretch here, and well, it sure looks different than what we are used to. There are still many unknowns for the weeks to come. What I DO know is that your children’s teachers are working hard to continue to give as much as they can to the students. It’s not easy to deliver a Bellwether education this way, none of this is ideal. I have been amazed by the way each of the teachers continues to maintain relationships in addition to finding connections to curriculum with your children. These relationships are at the core of a Bellwether education.
I know many of you weren’t able to make it to the Zoom meeting we held before April break, so I want to share some of the thoughts that I shared that evening. After reading through the survey responses, I noticed that a lot of parents were concerned with the HOW of supporting your children’s learning at home. I’ve thought a lot about this and even though I think it’s unfair to expect you all to be teachers all of a sudden, (and I don’t want you to think of yourselves as teachers anyway) I am still going to tell you HOW, because what a Bellwether teacher does is exactly what we should all be doing as we approach this challenge in our lives.
First I want to say to all of you: You are doing a great job parenting right now. You are being asked to do something that is incredibly difficult. Despite that difficulty, you are showing up for your family and that is enough. That is enough. It might not look like what your neighbor is doing. That’s okay. It shouldn’t look like what your neighbor is doing. It might not be Pinterest-worthy, I’ve got some news for you about Pinterest…(seriously, I’ll send you a link if you want to have a good laugh). You are doing enough. If you are asking “What MORE can I be doing to support my child?” You are doing MORE than enough.
Now, back to the “how”. It’s not fair to ask you to be your child’s teacher. If it helps you to take that role off of your plate, then take it off your plate. You don’t do yourself any favors by adding more titles of responsibility to yourself. Stick to being mom or dad. That’s who your kids need the most right now anyway. Now that you’ve relieved yourself of that title, you’ve taken the first step towards “how”.
How do you do it? Whatever “it” is? You start with you. This is how holistic educators do it. It’s just like when the flight attendants tell you if the oxygen masks become necessary, to put your own mask on first before assisting others. It’s the same principle here. Put on your oxygen mask. Make sure you’ve got it on straight. Take a few deeps breaths. Notice how you feel. You need to eat. You need to sleep. You need to take care of your own emotional health right now. Reach out to other adults for support if you need it. Take care of you first.
A firm belief we hold at Bellwether is that children need to be ready to approach their learning. A big part of being ready includes being emotionally ready. It’s hard to think about multiplication facts when you think your friend might be upset with you. At Bellwether, dealing with that emotional struggle is just as valuable as multiplication. Once you’ve talked to your friend, made any repairs or resolved a misunderstanding, you are much more ready to approach multiplication.
This is true for each of us. We all need to check in with ourselves before we can approach the task at hand. Check in with your own emotional state. How are YOU feeling? Check in with your child’s emotional state. Maybe that’s the only task you achieve all day. That’s okay.
Another thing we talk about at Bellwether is meeting children where they are. We believe that wherever they are is where they are supposed to be and it’s our job to meet them there and gently stretch them towards growth. So, meet them where they are. Go with that. They might not be ready to stretch and grow in all the ways right now, and that’s okay as long as they are emotionally okay. Don’t forget to meet yourself where you are as well! You might not be where you were 6 weeks ago. Don’t try to meet yourself 6 weeks ago. Meet yourself where you are now.
When you take care of yourself, it trickles down to your kids. Your kids need you to take care of you.
Bellwether is here for you. Your children’s teachers are here for you. We will continue to do our best to maintain our connections. Teachers will continue to find ways to offer academic support to your children. Just please make sure you cut yourself some slack and know that none of this is ideal. We’re all figuring it out together and doing the best we can. We will do our best to meet you where you are at and hold you there as long as you need us to.
I’m thinking of you all and sending you love and peace,