We all have dabbled in the stress of predicting how this year is going to go with going back to school, whether in one's home country or teaching internationally. We plague ourselves with the questions, "What if things go this way? What if admin does this? What if the state does this? How the hell am I going to be able to run my class efficiently?" All of these pondering are extremely important, warranted, and valued. However, WHAT IF is not going to help you prepare.
As a person who has an anxiety disorder I can tell you without a shadow of a doubt that the "what if" game of charades has no value in the context of productive and healthy thinking or planning for that matter. Now, there is an argument for trying to challenge what should be done and what expectations school systems should focus on, that is healthy and promotes critical thinking and shows the care for our student experience. But worrying needs to be altered into taking care of oneself so they are ready to be there for their students despite what obstacles have been thrown at them.
Take the summer to take care of yourself and prepare your body and mind to be ready to be the best YOU. This is your time to revamp, love your family, love your neighbor and focus on what makes you happy. Exercise, nutrition, and mental exercises should be part of your daily routine. You do not need to run marathons, crush workouts, meditate daily-important yes, but find your way to physically and mentally be happy. Take the time to go for walks outside and be with your thoughts, play games with your kids or nieces and nephews. Free yourself from worry even if it's only for an hour a day. This process will help you find clarity and preparation for things to come.
Your focus should not be on what-if guidelines, but if you are going to play the wondering game focus on the how. Just change the phrase and it will change your mindset and approach. We should be focusing on how can I make sure my students are part of the planning process, and we should be a unit of student learning educators(teacher included) as I have no more experience in this epidemic and strange times than my students do. I am officially back in the seat of the classroom sitting next to those I am expected to teach. Yes there are outcomes, standards, and expectations to meet but there is nothing wrong with your students helping guide learning phases, activities, that cater to their enjoyment and more importantly their needs. Be a teacher, but be a student first.