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Back-To-School Perspective: Will The Third Year Be The Charm?


The first few days of school are always full of jitters. New friends, familiar faces, and the expectations of what is to come fill the halls during the first few weeks -- or so I am told by teachers who have taught for more than three years.

See, the first year I taught 8th grade in Rockford, the district was the target of a large ransomware attack that left students and staff struggling to do anything that formerly relied on the internet for months. We ended that year completely online in order to stay safe and distant from the COVID-19 pandemic that sent the entire world into a lockdown.

Year two of teaching was much different as well. Mandates, schedules, and expectations changed what seemed to be dozens of times, all while teachers and staff tried desperately to do their job and what they love to do, teach students.

Year three doesn't look like it will be normal. The Delta Variant is on the rise, masks are coming back, and some colleges are talking about going fully remote. While I can't say "third time's the charm" quite yet, I can say that I know I and all my other colleagues want what is best for our students. We will advocate for them even when it isn’t easy at all. Even when those first few days of school aren't normal for anyone, teachers will make the best of it for their students.

I'm Caleb Wells, and that's my perspective.

Caleb Wells is a northern Illinois native and Rockford Public Schools teacher. His passions include equity, music, education, nature, and community.
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