I see you.

I see you walking down the hall, your shoulders slumped with unseen burdens. But I see how you brighten your face and straighten your stance when you tell me, “Good morning,” and ask about my day.

I see you.

I see the creases on your forehead before I knock on your door. But I see how you welcome me in, put aside your work and lean forward to listen.

I see you.

I see the evidence of the long hours you’re putting in behind the scenes. You’re at school early, stay late, and show up on the weekends.

I see you.

I see the way you’re catching as many demands as possible as they come down from above so our own shoulders can be a bit lighter and we can focus on teaching.

I see you.

I see the number of parent and family contacts you’ve made, coordinating in-person, online or hybrid instruction, caught in the impossible ground between respecting the wishes of each family and the wishes of the exhausted teachers trying to teach all ways simultaneously.

I see you.

I see how, in addition to managing a staff, leading a school, navigating standardized testing, and the normal daily responsibilities of your role, you’re also making sure we have the cleaning wipes, sanitizer, and donuts to fortify ourselves.

I see you.

I see how you’ve shelled out money, sometimes from your own pocket, to ensure we have the premium subscriptions to tech tools, microphones, masks, and more, so we can deliver instruction in whatever combination needed.

I see you.

I see the kind of flak you’re taking online from a community that’s stressed, from opinionated demands at odds with each other and impossible to meet. I see how pleasing one angers another, and how hearsay and armchair expertise miss the point of everything that’s happening, everything we’re trying to do.

I see you.

I see the way you’ve set aside staff meetings for self-care and whatever celebration you can inspire. I see the way you’ve respected the grief we’ve experienced and protected our time. I see how you do that for us and wonder who’s doing that for you.

I see you.

I see you’re weary. You’re Atlas, holding up the sky on your own shoulders to keep it off ours. You’re doing everything you can to support us through seemingly impossible times that have—and will—stretch us all to our max. Sometimes you slip. Sometimes I glimpse just how much this burden is costing you, just how close you are to losing yourself.

But I see you.

For each burden you bear, for all you’re doing to support us, I thank you.

Sincerely,

A Teacher

Katie Powell is a teacher in rural Indiana. Passionate about reclaiming the wonder and curiosity of learning, she wrote the book, “Boredom Busters: Transform Worksheets, Lectures, and Grading into Engaging, Meaningful Learning Experiences.” Her second book, “Frustration Busters,” is currently in development. Learn more.

The Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association (TEPSA), whose hallmark is educational leaders learning with and from each other, has served Texas PK-8 school leaders since 1917. Member owned and member governed, TEPSA has more than 5,900 members who direct the activities of 3 million PK-8 school children. TEPSA is an affiliate of the National Association of Elementary School Principals.

© Texas Elementary Principals and Supervisors Association

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