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The 2020-2021 school year is about to start, and it looks like more remote learning for a little while. The experience of having to prepare digital classrooms was intimidating for many of us back in March, and even still, we're quite unsure of what to expect. Remember, you teach kids, not content. So, whatever you plan, make them the priority. If you need help or resources, please look around our site. You find several years of blogs, videos, and professional development presentations.

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Mrs. Stahlecker sings one of her favorite songs for her students.

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November 26, 2020: This One is About Us

This past week was one of the toughest I've had in a long time. I lost a dear friend and mentor a week ago, and I've not had the time to acknowledge his passing or process my grief. My mind was fraught with worry as my dad, who has stage 2 renal cancer, had a kidney removed on Monday. We were so short staffed at work this week, there were times I didn't think the school would still be open by Friday. Midweek, I pulled a muscle in my back, and I could barely get off of bed. I felt overwhelmed at times and by the end, I was just trying to keep up, both figuratively and very literally putting out fires all over the place.

This week just beat the crap out of me.

Yet, somewhere between all the aches and anxiety, I find myself grateful for having endured this week. Not because what doesn't kill us makes us stronger, (what doesn't kill us still hurts like hell) but because when times are tough, we turn to each other.

Sometimes, the world seems to spin hopelessly out of control, so we compartmentalize our physical and emotional pain in hopes that we can fake it until we make it. We often don't realize that others close by are going through similar struggles. We may not all be in the same boat, but we are passing each other like ships in the night. This week, I was very blessed to have been offered a light house beacon and a safe harbor from several near and dear to me.

In all the chaos, my cup stayed full because I knew there were people praying for me and my family. I read tribute after tribute to a great man who impacted the lives of many. I witnessed selflessness and compassion by close friends in the service of others. I saw the joy on kids' faces as they connected with peers that shared their interests. I heard school leaders, who stood in the trenches with us through it all, acknowledge that we had been asked of alot, and say thank you for the effort that went into making it work. I also had a life partner that propped me up and kept me going, when I couldn't stand on my own.

This week reminded me that the connection we have with each other is one of things that makes life so magical. We have others to share in our joys and triumphs, but also shoulder the weight of our burdens. During this season of thanksgiving, I am not just thankful for you, but for the life experience or bond that forges the foundation of our relationship. I'm thankful for what makes you and me, us, and I vow to continue to work on becoming a better me, so that I may be bigger blessing to you.

Humanity has two definitions. The first is "the human race," and 2020 has challenged it in ways we couldn't have previously imagined. The second definition is "humaneness, benevolence, or compassion." Please consider this a challenge to that humanity within us all to extend love and grace to each other, no matter the geography or ideology that divides us. We need each other, and we are better together.

God Bless and Happy Thanksgiving.