June 2, 2023

It has been difficult for everyone to handle the changes brought about by the pandemic. As a newly installed assistant school head, I remain inspired by families, learners, and teachers. I have had the pleasure to see the amazing things people have done out of love, passion, purpose, and grit. We knew it was inevitable that learners will not come to school, but we didn’t know to what extent. We knew definitively we were transitioning from face-to-face learning to blended learning. We had to work expeditiously and diligently to prepare for distance learning that was effective and sustainable.

I did not have any idea how the teachers were going to handle the news that they were going to have to take their classrooms modular and virtual. I was just thinking about all the teachers, their teaching styles, their level of experience, and their abilities to effectively integrate technology into their lessons. Some teachers were headed toward the finish line, while others were at the starting point. Regardless of what level teachers were at, when the pandemic hit, they needed to be at the finish line immediately.

When presenting the blended learning guidebook I developed to help teachers, I could not help but think about how overwhelmed they probably felt. Some of the most tech-savvy teachers had their work cut out for them. I saw teachers at their best after they realized that they had one week to create blended learning classrooms. But not once did they complain. No matter the age, experience, style, or personality, they did what they had to do for their learners. I began to see their innovation, their culturally relevant practices, and their implementation of mindfulness and social-emotional learning. I will forever be inspired by their hard work, dedication, and love for their learners. 

I see this pandemic as a reboot in my life. Just like my computer, almost everything will work again if you unplug it for a few minutes. Sometimes life goes so severely off course that we need an extreme reboot. This is the time to take whatever steps are necessary to start fresh. I went back to the beginning, challenging my consumption, and the many unhealthy habits that had become present in my life. The lockdowns made me rediscover my purpose. Without a purpose, life is motion without meaning, activity without direction, and events without reason. Of course, not every life needs a full reboot. And I am smart enough to know that rebooting my life is not the same as restarting my computer. I cannot just delete past memories, experiences, injuries, or every unenjoyable responsibility in my life. Rebooting the direction of my life requires more than a few minutes of downtime. Only I can decide if such drastic measures are necessary. However, often, by pressing the Ctrl+Alt+Del keys in one or two areas of your life, all other areas will start to fall into place. This pandemic is a test of faith, too. In this time of uncertainty, we need to turn to our faith. It is in this time that I felt the peace and hope to get through.

Sometimes it takes one’s world falling apart for the most beautiful mosaic to be built up from the broken pieces of wreckage. We can all do our part to raise the vibration of this planet and initiate collective healing on a mass scale. Our battle is not over yet. (JACQUELINE L. FIANZA)