My #OneWord2020 was STRENGTH.
Wow! The word took on a meaning I could never have imagined when I chose it in December 2019. When I selected and wrote about it, I was focusing on the strength to continue to push myself professionally.
"I'd like to better meet the personal challenges I set for myself in 2019, and strength will definitely be needed to bury the excuses. Professionally, I want to continue with my writing and presenting, moving beyond my circle of comfort. I also need to be better at meeting uncomfortable conversations head-on, choosing courage over comfort."
Little did I know what 2020 would bring, both personally and professionally.
March 13, 2020 was the last day things were "normal". It was the last day of full, in school instruction with students and staff. It was the last day of leaving the house without a mask, hand sanitizer, and a little bit of fear and uncertainty.
As I shared in a May blog post, educators learned and shifted instruction to meet the needs of their students through remote instruction. When we received word that the 20-21 school year would begin remotely, teachers once again worked to plan and meet the needs of their students. Through this "new normal", teachers are teaching remotely and students are learning. Everyone is working harder than ever and making it work.
Personally, I enjoyed the first few months of quarantine. My adult children were both home with us, and we kept busy with family dinners (I did a lot of cooking and finding new recipes), movies, games, and
puzzles. My son graduated from high school and my daughter turned 21 quarantine style.
Summer arrived, and my children both went back to college and work, leaving my husband and I to adjust to another new normal, having an "empty nest". We traveled on long weekends with friends, spent a quiet week vacationing in Myrtle Beach, and celebrated my Dad's 80th birthday. Infection numbers were low, and we felt safe masking up, keeping our circle small, and washing our hands.
As fall approached, the warning of rising Covid numbers loomed. I went back to in-person work, but our students did not. October finally brought the first group of students back into our buildings hybrid-style. It was great to see children in school again, but nothing was "normal" about it. As the rest of students prepared to join the hybrid, rising numbers and warnings caused the district to go back to full remote instruction.
I was exposed to Covid in late September, and fortunately did not contract it. Allergies and asthma flared up for me in November, and that turned into my second negative Covid test.
Remote learning continued, and things were busy for me supporting teachers, attending and presenting professional development, and conducting teacher observations. My role as an Instructional Supervisor had changed a lot this year right along with the teachers, and I felt the combination of inspiration and stress and I learned and adjusted.
And then it was December...
December 8 my asthma flared up again, and eventually this became known as day 1. It got worse as the week progressed and by December 12 (day 5) my breathing was bad and I was exhausted. I saw a doctor at Urgent Care on December 14 (day 7) and was diagnosed with bronchitis but told to get a Covid test just to be sure. I started on antibiotics and steroids, and also started running a fever that night.
On December 15 (day 8) I had a Covid test. Results were due back on December 17 (day 10), but it came back as a "bad sample" and I received no results. I went to rapid test that afternoon and received a positive Covid result.
By December 18 (day 11), my symptoms (I had them all at this point except the loss of taste and smell) were continuing to worsen. As an asthmatic, I had been monitoring my oxygen levels daily. Now they were dropping into the 80s, which is dangerous, so it was off to the ER I went.
I was admitted to the hospital, where I stayed until December 23 (day 16) and was treated for "asthma exacerbated by Covid". I watched every Christmas movie on TV (thanks AMC!), took lots of medications, breathed with the help of oxygen, and rested. I was well-cared for by some incredible nurses who worked to get me strong enough to go home for Christmas. In the meantime, my husband had also tested positive with mild symptoms.
I returned home on oxygen, where my husband and I spent Christmas and New Years in quarantine. Our children could not come home for the holidays, and that was brutal. We felt the love from family and friends as our kitchen was filled with food, flowers and cards.
Day 22 brought a blood clot to my arm, a result of Covid and the IV I had in the ER when I first arrived on December 18, so it was back to the ER for an ultrasound. I was sent home that day on blood thinners and the hope that things would resolve. Fortunately, they did. I remain on blood thinners for at least the next three months and then a long-term decision will be made.
Jump ahead to now, mid-January, and I am on the road to recovery. I've been off of oxygen for a week and my numbers remain steady and stable. I'm working to build up my strength as I still get tired and winded easily. I have a few lingering effects with my asthma and a high pulse, but they continue to improve daily. It will take some time, but I'll get there. In a word, I am extremely grateful.
So, that was the very long-winded way of getting to my One Word for 2021....GRATEFUL. I've always been a person who lives with a grateful heart. I'm grateful for the blessings in my life and the experiences I have had.
I want to focus on my gratitude this year. I want to share my gratitude with others, helping to spread it during some challenging times for all. Just as my words have done the past few years (inspire 2017, intentional 2018, challenge 2019, and strength 2020), I want grateful to guide my year and make me stronger; a better educator and a better person.
What am I grateful for right now?
students returning to school tomorrow
my improving health
Here's to 2021...a better year for us all, where gratitude becomes a daily practice and we're just kinder to one another. We could all use a little of that.