“25 Things I Learned in 2020” by Michelle Caswell

by Michelle Caswell

Winner- Best Creative Writing

  1. Even with weight on our shoulders and masks on our faces, we still want to be goofy.
  2. Our students can collectively solve literally any tech problem that exists if we abandon our egos and let them.
  3. Juniors can still be emotionally 11 years old one minute, and 35 the next.
  4. Freshmen are so intensely the future, and so much better than I was at 14.
  5. Offering a squirt or spray of hand sanitizer is a new bonding experience.
  6. Masks make a daytime Halloween costume cuter.
  7. Masks make it infinitely more difficult to tell that set of twins apart.
  8. Reading is still the easiest way to escape reality.
  9. Zoom fatigue is real.
  10. Mental health matters more than curriculum content.
  11. Dogs at school make everything better (for the dogs and the people).
  12. Everyone has a favorite font (mine is Cabin).
  13. If you sleep with a spoon under your pillow and your pajamas inside out, you’ll get a day of remote learning.
  14. Acorns in your pocket make the wifi work.
  15. Class inside jokes still exist over zoom (see above: acorns).
  16. Sarcasm translates over zoom. So does exasperation. So does respect.
  17. Teachers can love students we’ve never met other than through a screen.
  18. Late work penalties don’t need to be a thing. Extensions are a form of grace.
  19. Everyone – literally everyone – is doing their best.
  20. Ask “how are you?” and really listen, and you’ll get an honest answer.
  21. Ask for feedback and you’ll get it, and it’ll keep coming.
  22. Ask for feedback and you’ll have to act.
  23. Ask for feedback and you’ll have to follow through.
  24. Ask kids to hold you accountable, and they will.
  25. Not knowing and actually finding out is better than pretending you’ve known all along.