We have all seen pictures of partitions in classrooms, heard rumors about mask-use rulings, and read the CDC’s guidelines for back-to-school. Before you make any assumptions, any decisions, or freak out please remember this one thing: attitudes are the MOST viral thing your kids are being exposed to, and teachers are viral in the best way.

It was your kids’ teachers who probably lost more sleep than you did over the way last year ended. They put everything that had into salvaging some form of online learning for your children to have a small shred of normalcy amidst big, BIG changes. And, let’s not forget, they did this in a matter of HOURS. 

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Teachers aren’t in teaching for the star power or the fabulous benefits, they’re in it for the hugs, the daily stories, the growth they see in your kids.

Covid took them from them in the worst way but one thing is certain—they are READY to get back to the classroom. 

On that first day back to school, no matter what it looks like, teachers will be there smiling beneath their masks even if they hate wearing them. They will probably have a few tears in their eyes as the hallways fill with life once again. 

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The Lord doesn’t make mistakes so even though the rest of us think He may have spilled a little extra energy, joy, and cheer when He created a teacher, He knew exactly what He was doing. I have always said there was a special place in Heaven for elementary school teachers, right there next to the saints. I’ve spent enough time in classrooms to know that it’s true. Don’t forget this when you’re up late fretting over what you’re going to do next school year or when some Negative Nancy blows up your newsfeed with yet another conspiracy-ladened post with horrifying photos of schools that look more like prisons. Do not forget the MOST important factor in your child’s school day are the teachers and staff that fill the building with joy. 

Your children are exposed to something far more viral than germs on a regular basis: attitudes of the adults they interact with, including you.

So instead of worrying or expressing a poor attitude to your kids about the school year, remember that the adults in that building are ready to face this challenge just like all the other government-mandated challenges they’ve faced during their careers with a welcoming smile and a laser-like focus on the person your child is becoming. It is the teachers—NOT the safety guidelines—that will define the school year. 

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Rather than worry, spend your time praying that the most viral thing your child is exposed to this school year is the positive attitude that every teacher and staff member at the school is carrying because I am convinced no mask is going to filter that out. 

Before you dread the upcoming school year remember the teachers are one factor most of the discussions are leaving out.

They will be there, smiling through the masks and shouldering the burden so your kids don’t have to. They will take what they are given and work their magic so your kids still feel loved, valued, and adored, even if it’s from 6 feet away. 

And PS—If you have teachers in your life, consider encouraging them instead of digging into the specifics on the latest guidelines. I know my kids’ teachers will be getting their teacher appreciation gifts on the first day of school because after e-learning last year I have never appreciated them more! I’m sending them brand new lip-reader masks with the clear window in front so my kids can still enjoy their smiles because I know, no matter what, they will be smiling.

Laura Watts

My name is Laura Watts. I'm just another Jesus-loving mom who hopes to encourage a few people with the things I write. I believe strongly that the most important things in life are meant to be shared, including the lessons the Lord is teaching you and the joy you have been given.