My Covid days part 2

My school is one of many that closed due to the pandemic. Since March we all have been trying to figure out what the safest and the best way is to reopen. While we receive limited and many times confusing guidance from the officials, many of our questions are left with no answer or they create more questions. Sometimes all I hear is “well, it is that way now and we do not have another answer”. This is all understandable given the fact that our generation has not experienced anything like this before. So I decide to take a step back and show some grace. Though they are officials, like everyone else, they are people and they are trying to figure this all out. Believe me, I need to remind this to myself multiple times a day.

I receive so many questions on a daily basis. Most of them are the same, but there are different ones here and there. When will the school reopen? How many children are going to be in the classroom? Are the children going to wear a mask? How much will the tuition be? Then there are families who are not sure if they will send their children to school when we reopen the campus. Though I operate a school and one of my main goals and values is to create and continue relationships and experiences for years to come, as you can imagine I am also running a business. Naturally, just like any other business, I have to have a plan. I need to know how many students are enrolled, how many scholarships I can award, how many classrooms will be operational and how many teachers I need. I need answers because all of these need financial stability. In many individuals’ minds, no matter how much they like the school, the connection of financial stability= school viability does not connect. There comes the hardship and balance. I love my families. I absolutely adore the children. Little people with lots of energy and curiosity. One’s job does not get better than that. Yet, here we are all struggling with balancing emotions, wants and needs.

I have been following the research very closely. It is frustrating to see that there are so many differing opinions even among the epidemiologists when it comes to children’s safety and health. Therefore, I buckled up and chose to follow whatever the strictest measures are. My entire team is involved in the planning in various ways. This work would not be possible without them. We have been working on many details. From what type of shoes children should wear indoors to the words we will use while we interact with children during this big transition. It is all about mental health. Then there is the operational part again. How do we meet the needs of the families with all the restrictions and requirements we are implementing? My starting point has always been the mission, vision and the core values of our school.

To be continued…

My COVID days

It has been a long time since the last time I have written. Though I have been craving to write for months, I could never make time for it. Each time I tried, I realized how full my mind was and how fast thoughts were racing in my head.

Finally, here I am today. It has been horribly busy and stressful for several months. I was so hopeful from 2020 with all the dreams and expectations lining up in my head. I ended the year with a visit to my favorite country. My forever home… Turkey. Just as I thought how lucky I was seeing my family, spending time by the sea and doing all the things that I wanted to do. I thought I loaded myself with all the energy I needed for the new year. For the busy days to come…

Well, the plans did not work out so well. I was devastated with the death of Coby Brian and his daughter. How could he have died?? After all, he was one of my all-time favorite basketball players. My childhood memories. It broke my heart to see my son trying to process Coby’s sudden death. He is in love with basketball and who knows how many times he watched Coby’s videos to learn a few tricks and techniques here and there.

Then it was the loss of my best friend’s mom whom I have known since I was 11. One more piece taken away from my childhood. Then came the pandemic. I closed my school in mid-March only for two weeks. At least that was what I thought would be. Here we are at the end of June and all these months we have been staying at home.

I have never thought that I would work from home. Especially as a head of a preschool. My heart is so heavy, my mind is exhausted my whole being is stressed out.

Why am I stressed? Work load? Not really. It is the unknown and the anxiety that comes with it. I am a mother, a wife, an educator, a leader. I have been torn in so many pieces that some days I feel like I cannot put myself together after all of this. Most days I am grateful for everything I have in my life, especially my family and our health, and I know I can carry on and lift this up. My team, our school community, my colleagues, my family in Turkey have all been my saving grace.

I have been enslaved by my laptop more than ever. Endless virtual meetings, countless documents to read and webinars to attend, hundreds of emails to check and to respond to every week. The heaviest of all is not the work load, as one might think. It is the emotions. Children cooped up in their homes away from peers with limited things to do at home, families juggling work and child care, sad conversations with families who lost their jobs, teachers anxious and working tirelessly to stay connected with the children. Having the responsibility to take care of all and not being able to make time for my family, my son and my husband. Long work days with no meals, as if I am on the road and not home.

My home was my sanctuary after a long day. My library! Oh my library. Once my safe space is now my space of stress. Everything happens there. All the work and all the anxiety. A realization of fragility of life.

…to be continued.