We are dealing with a generation of young people who spent several months at home. They had plans cancelled, they didn’t see their friends, and some have watched their families lose everything. They fearfully watched people get sick, they listened as their elders brushed off concerns about public health, their eyes were opened to the injustices facing their peers, and many of them found their voice.
This August, I will put on a mask and pack a personal bottle of hand sanitizer in my teacher bag next to my favorite grading pens. I will come back to the classroom because it is the most important space where I can make a difference. I will return as a teacher every fall for the foreseeable future because of the challenge, not in spite of it. Books will be loved by the right reader without my tutelage, but I will not be the same without the opportunity to teach.