Head of School's Message: September 20

What has the experience of the return to school been like for Chandler teachers and students? What are we putting into practice this year that we learned from last year's experience?
I asked Chandler faculty for their reactions. Here are some of the responses from Lower and Middle school teachers that underscore the dedication, perceptiveness, intelligence and goodness of the men and women who teach your children.
"I am thoroughly enjoying the engagement of students with learning and in class while simultaneously adjusting to new rhythms. I recognize that most of my students are participating & growing; however, there are some who are struggling. I imagine some of that comes from being at school full days while resuming their activities outside of school; it takes a while to resume that level of activity again. Yet, I know some are still deep within the funk of the pandemic and need more time and space to move through that season; there is still much to process about living through a global pandemic. As an educator, I have the privilege of joining them on their journey, wherever they find themselves, and together moving forward."
"I am thriving from the sense of community I reap from Chandler each day. The daily challenge, however, requires extra energy: to climb the mountain like Sysyphus each day, filling my backpack with my daily tools and enough provisions to sustain me; to stay on top of which quarantined students need to be zoomed in; being in the right place to cover "zoomed" activity periods; to constantly check emails for updates; to learn my students' names/identities despite the masks; teaching (talking and listening) through a mask all day. I know that we need to soldier through and that the effort results in education for our children, but it requires more energy and focus from the teachers and staff."
"The pandemic changed the way I taught last year. So this year, I have molded last year's curriculum style and content with how I taught before. This new style, pace, and content development that is born from the experience, I think is better for the student's learning and my sanity. I hope not to fall back into the "normal" of before because then I have not learned anything from the past 18 months. "
"The focus on self-care should be paramount this year. It's how we show up in our classroom that matters. Coming back to work with a normal routine, despite the masks, is comforting.  Looming zoom is still a possibility. I can feel the residual anxiety of last year with our students, and hopefully, the trauma of last year can be nurtured away into the comforting routines and dependable structures of school, not to mention the wellspring of friendship that school provides."
"It may be misguided to think in terms of a "normal trail," as this is not recognizing that, both conceptually and concretely, there has been a shift in our reality. We emerge out of this pandemic fundamentally different in the way we behave and the manner in which we view our lives and regard our family, community, and the world we inhabit. The pandemic has had an effect on every single person. If we are wise and open, we have not only adapted to the inevitable changes in our lives but seized the opportunity to attain a deeper and more profound awareness of the human experience." 
Most sincerely,
John Finch, Head of School