Anger is Fear's Bodyguard (Covid-19 Teaching Diary Day 21)

Have you ever had a quote or a phrase from way back resurface in your mind out of nowhere? Yesterday the phrase, "Anger is fear's bodyguard," popped into my brain. My sister, a drama therapist, shared this with me some time back. It was a message I guess my subconscious felt I needed to remember.

I felt angry yesterday and I felt angry today. But I know underneath the anger there are fears.

Yesterday it was fear of failure. It was my fear of letting my students down. I know they deserve the best possible teaching in normal circumstances, and especially now. I don't feel like I'm able to give that right now. I'm used to finding ways to teach that are hands on and try to cultivate discussion among students. Now everything is digital and I feel like all the conversation flows through me.

Also it's just a plain stressful experience for the kids. They're trying to adapt to remote learning, but they miss school and they miss their friends. So when yesterday's lessons were flailing, deep down I felt afraid, but on the surface it came out as anger.
Anger | Used 1 light set up with grid. Light was kept at 5 f… | Flickr

Today anger rushed through my body when I thought of a few students who I have practically lost all contact with since March 13th. I was thinking about the number of people at my school who are working on attendance and outreach. I was thinking about the directive that requesting a "wellness check" (an in person visit to the family) is a "last resort." I don't know what steps need to be exhausted at this point, six weeks since schools closed.

Thinking about this I felt so angry. And then I remembered that my anger was protecting me from my fear.

I'm afraid for these students and their families. I'm worried about them. I can't imagine the kind of stress and trauma that would cause them to lose touch so completely. If their parents and guardians are going through this, then I fear for what the kids are experiencing.

The members of the community my school serves were not strangers to trauma before this current pandemic. Systemic racism and capitalism had already caused so much harm to our students and their families before March 13th. When I think about how these traumas might be compounded by this pandemic and economic crisis I feel a pit in my stomach.

It is a very heavy feeling to consider nine more weeks of remote learning for my students and me. I know the emotional rollercoaster will continue. I'll try to continue to check for these feelings and where they come from. Along with the anger and fear there have been moments of joy, and I promise to share them soon.


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