It is with a great sense of sorrow that I write to you today to address the events of this week. (Scroll down and cloick on right for full text.)
To quote writer Yaa Gyasi, humans are often driven by “The need to call this thing “good” and this thing “bad”, this thing “white” and this thing “black”… (but)…everything was everything. Everything bore the weight of everything else”. This week, I sincerely feel the weight of everything bearing everything else, as we continue to see the turmoil brought about by our government’s failure to truly support communities across the Commonwealth through the COVID-19 pandemic – which has resulted in continually rising case-rates and the subsequent closures and delayed openings of schools in our district and around the region.
I am guided by the belief that we are all devoted and loving human beings who care deeply about our students; and while we may have varied perspectives and experiences with school this year, our shared goal MUST be to find ways to support one another in a world of constant change, turmoil, and very little knowns. Sometimes support may mean reaching out to those in need; sometimes support may mean stepping back from a potential conflict or argument. Once again, I reject the false dichotomy of “teachers vs families”; those who look at things in such polarizing terms are doomed to ignore the complexities and vulnerabilities of the human condition. We are all everything; educators, family members, parents, children, students.
Regardless of one’s perspective on our upcoming closure, I sense that we share a similar sense of loss and sadness that has plagued us since last spring. I continue to hold to the hope that we can come together and share our perspectives, ideas, and hopes for how to keep supporting one another (students, educators, families) –and when we do so, always making room for the voices of People of Color to be heard first, most often, and loudest — listening to the most marginalized voices in our community WILL ultimately lead to better outcomes for everyone.
In the coming days, APEA leadership is committed to providing opportunities for you to connect with your colleagues to offer feedback, ask questions, and share ideas, successes, and concerns. Information about building-based meetings will come directly from building representatives. Additionally, the APEA governance (Executive Board and Representative Council) will continue to announce our upcoming meetings, be transparent about how the evolving public health context impacts our working conditions, and share new information with you as soon as we have it.
I am forever grateful for the strength, humanity, and resilience of each and every one of you who continues to show up and fight for the best possible outcomes for our students and ourselves. Thank you for being there.
APEA President 2020-2021