It’s been such a long time since I have updated my web page, but I have been SUPER busy with career stuff, as well as trying to find peace in this crazy time! I left campus for Spring Break in March, and we never returned to our normal schedule. During March and early April, due to the uncertainties, I had trouble sleeping (was not going to bed until 3-4 am), and I stress ate (too much..lol). There were times that I had to check out of all media (TV and social media), but other times when I was glued to the TV and my phone, and I just wanted to know if this was all really real. (And don’t even get me started on the horrendous act in the incident with George Floyd in Minnesota– I am beyond tired of hashtags, and the fear that racism and bigotry has always placed in my life–definitely left me going through a plethora of emotions)
To say things were challenging personally the past few months is an understatement. I lost my beloved mother in law in December, and I lost my favorite Uncle in May (both non-COVID related). Two deaths in less than six months can take its toll on anyone. But both of them were always a source of inspiration and hope for me, so I could still feel all that they instilled in me, pushing me along.
Thankfully, I did not want for anything during that time, and we remained safely quarantined in our home. I am blessed though, as the biggest worry that my husband and I had was where each one of us would hold a meeting (or class) in our house when we had one simultaneously. I know that was not the case for others, and I really felt sorry for my students (past and current) who were impacted and cheated of a “normal” classroom experience by this pandemic. My heart especially hurt for the Class of 2020.
So for the remainder of this post, I will focus on the positive only…
Positives that happened on my end during the peak of the country being shut down:
-I proposed, submitted, revised and edited (several times) my very first book chapter for a scholarly book titled “Sparking Engagement–Translating and Integrating Social Media Into the Literacy Environment”. (Coming January 2021)
-I co-wrote and had two articles published titled: “Write Away” Writing Across the Curriculum and Beyond” and “READ: Accepting and Interacting with the Diverse Needs of Texas Literacy Learners”
-My husband and I walked/exercised at least 4 times per week from Mid-March-April.
-I completed my first full year as a tenure-track professor (I was previously an Ad Interim Professor for a semester)
-I attended and presented at the TALE Annual Conference in Odessa, TX on February 29- March 1st. (It was the last major in-person conference and trip that I was able to take before the state and country shutdown due to COVID-19).
-I was accepted to present at the Black Doctoral Network’s Western Regional Conference for “P.E.E.P.S.” (Parent Involvement Empowerment Seminar); Postponed
-I was nominated Chair-Elect for the Texas Association for Literacy Education (TALE) for 2020-2021. I will serve as Chair (like the President of the organization) in 2021-2022.
-I was accepted to present at NCTE’s Annual Convention in Denver, Colorado (was to take place in November 2020, but it was reformatted to an online conference)
-We (a former TALE Board Member and I) finally finished creating and establishing READ@TALE (a Special Interest Committee of the Texas Association of Literacy Education.
-I took part in the North Star of Texas Writing Project (Online)
-I did several Instagram LIVE events (Keynote Advice for the Dear New Teacher Retreat Virtual Symposium and “Forever Educators” with Dr. Terica) and began a Writing Community on my Instagram page called #WriteWhys Wednesdays.
I share all of these good things not to brag, but to reflect and remind myself and others that all is not lost. I am back on duty today and moving into the Fall 2020 semester– in which I will be completely online with teaching courses and doing the required field experience observations with our students who are in their final semesters (student teaching). I have to push myself to maintain the same level of personal touches in my teaching and instruction, and find ways to give meaningful and feedback that I’d normally put into a face to face course. It’s a very stressful time, but I just keep telling myself that I am experiencing growth and encouraging growth from my students at the same time.
I have had such a trying year, but I am thankful for the blessings–even if I have to search for them. So far, 2020 has been a year that showed me that although I may not understand why certain things happen, there is always a purpose. A healthy balance of patience, persistence, and optimism are in my future. Pieces of the puzzle can often be lost, but once you find their place in the puzzle the picture is complete. Best wishes to all of my educator friends doing their part and going above and beyond!