Averill Park teacher’s powerful post resonating with educators near and far

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AVERILL PARK, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Averill Park Central School District has released a tentative plan for reopening school in the fall. Earlier this week, teachers were tasked with cleaning out their classrooms in order to allow for enough space for desks to be properly spread out and socially distanced.

Sera Deo, a fourth grade teacher at Miller Hill Elementary, told NEWS10 ABC that removing cozy reading chairs, supply shelves, and beloved book cases was very emotional for her. As a teacher for over 20 years, staring at a classroom that was once homey and is now sterile was tough for her to look at.

“I just completely wiped out, in my opinion, all of the meaningful parts of my classroom,” said Deo.

Later that day, as she was sitting home scrolling through Facebook seeing comment after comment about teachers and controversial discussions surrounding kids going back to school in the fall, she decided to write a post of her own.

“It was just raw, my heart, what I was feeling at that moment,” said Deo.

Her main message was “give us a minute.”

“Just give me a minute to process that fact that everything I’ve known about being a teacher and being in a school is different,” she said.

The post quickly generated more than 2,000 likes and was shared more than 5,000 times. Her words resonated with educators in the Capital Region and beyond.

“One of the things that people have said to me is thank you so much for saying what we’re afraid to say,” said Deo.

She’s asking those who are quick to make inconsiderate comments on social media to understand just how anxiety-inducing this situation is for teachers, too.

“We just need time to process all of this just as everybody else does,” said Deo.

She added that, while they’re not being paid, they’re still working tirelessly through the summer to make sure they’re ready for whatever comes their way. At the same time, they’re trying to accept the fact that no matter what happens, virtually or in-person, things will not be the same.

“Kids come to school for so much more than learning. They come for the socialization and the friendship, some kids come to eat, some kids come for safety. It’s really hard to imagine how we’re going to replicate those things with desks six feet apart and reduced interaction,” said Deo.

She told NEWS10, the unknown is keeping her up at night, as well as the possibility of getting sick or infecting someone else.

“I don’t know if I’m going to be teaching from [home]; I don’t know if I’m going to be teaching from someone else’s classroom, from the gym, or the cafeteria,” said Deo.

She’s asking parents to try to work together with teachers in order to make this work.

“The stronger we can make the team of people who are involved in a child’s education, the better the education is going to be,” said Deo.

Mrs. Deo’s full post is below: 

Give us a minute.

I spent today removing my personal belongings from my classroom. I’m not alone. This is being required in many districts right now.

Chairs. 

Pillows. 

Lamps.

Bookcases. 

Books.

Nothing but desks and chairs remained. 

I left my empty classroom and cried all the way home. 

Give us a minute.

Before you say that parents need to be able to work. That parents need a plan. That parents aren’t teachers. Remember. Most parents aren’t teachers, but most teachers ARE parents. We want what’s best for your kids and OUR kids, too. We are in this together.

Give us a minute.

Before you spew your negative personal experience with virtual learning from the spring. Think. Do you have any idea how hard we worked to make it the best it could possibly be? Do you have any idea how it feels to read your words?

Give us a minute.

Before you rattle off your ideas about what will work in the fall. Understand. For every idea you have, we know a student and a family who needs something different. What works well in your house for your children is not necessarily the solution for all.

Give us a minute.

Teachers are not supposed to be working right now. 

But we are. 

Tirelessly. 

As always.

There has never been a time before when we weren’t ready to make it ok. 

We use nights and weekends away from our families to make sure your children feel supported.

We go to sporting events and plays. We buy girl scout cookies and boy scout wreaths. 

We buy supplies.

We buy food.

We visit homes. And hospitals.

We prepare for gunmen.

We do whatever it takes. Every single time.

But right now we’re scared.

We are scared to death.

We are not sleeping. We are sick with worry.

We want to do what is right for our kids, and yours, because we consider them ours, too.

Give us a minute. Please.”

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