In a revealing Twitter thread, school principal Greg Moffitt explained what his experience has been like as an educator over the past 96 weeks.
Throughout the course of the ongoing pandemic, educators have been disregarded as essential frontline workers. Despite the risk they take when going into school campuses to ensure children can continue their learning, school teachers and principals alike have not been given the resources they need to do their jobs safely and with purpose. In a now-viral Twitter thread, one school principal shared what it was like to live a day in his life right now. Greg Moffitt, an elementary school principal, explained the anxieties, sadness, and moments of hope that educators like him experience on a day-to-day basis.
For Moffitt, his day actually begins the night before when staff members get in touch with him to let him know they will be out the next day. "You hope they're okay and remind them to put the absence in the online management system in the hope that a sub will pick it up," he wrote. "You go to sleep. The alarm goes off. There's no time to hit snooze so you jump up and make the coffee. You check your email and then you check the online absence report. 10-20 staff will be out." According to the principal, it has been like this every day for a while now.
He continued, "So you make another cup of coffee and you start the three-dimensional puzzle of figuring out how to cover. How to make it work. How to keep the school building open. Safely." He is responsible for answering several questions at this point, such as what meetings he will cancel that day so he can cover lessons, what intervention groups may get canceled, which teachers will go without prep, which teachers will not be equipped with a paraeducator in the room, and so on. Once he has answers to these overlapping questions, he leaves for school.
"By the time you get there, another staff member calls out," he stated. "A district-wide sub-emergency is declared and the district office sends all the available program coordinators, directors, and assistant superintendents to help." Moffitt then described how he has to play multiple roles at a time when the students start filing in. Some of these roles include the crossing guard, student monitor, behavior assistant, and even server at lunchtime. He added, "In between, you administer as many rapid antigen tests as you can. So that kids can return to school. So that kids can stay in school. So that kids who are going home sick might be able to come back." And of course, he is constantly washing his hands and changing masks all day long.
As you would assume, the principal has very little time to himself. Even when he does have free time, he is usually spending it updating safety plans, revising accountability plans, and documenting how his school has spent its extended learning opportunity funds. He shared, "You listen to the phone message from the parent worried about their child and read the email from the teacher worried about their student and you try to respond. With empathy. With reassurance. With hope." Additionally, his day is filled with meetings with the assistant principal, school counselors, and the intervention team which handles all the kids experiencing crises.
Finally, Moffitt preps the morning video announcements for the next day before he heads home. "You try to put on a brave face and smile," he described. "You try and figure out a way to let the kids know that we've got this when you honestly don't know if you do. And then the day repeats all over again." Unfortunately, due to all his new responsibilities, he rarely gets the time to go into the classroom to see the kids and teachers. He stated, "You try to celebrate them. Appreciate them. But you can't. Not today. You'll try again tomorrow." The principal, who has been following this routine for 96 weeks now, concluded with a message for those who interact with educators. "If you are thankful for something they've done, let them know," he encouraged.