"I’ve missed school, ready for unity with my people" by: Betsy Monico

   I shared a meaningful conversation yesterday with a fellow volleyball mom in the “powder room.” 
   Females like to talk there, but let me clarify – it was in an old gym restroom. 
   Thankfully, the South gym restroom at Fairfield High is still open and operating, but it could use a makeover. 
   The South gym reminds me of high school two-a-days. We met daily there, with no air conditioning, from 8-10 and 2-4. I can still feel the heat if I close my eyes, taste the sweat, and hear our coaches. 
   Coach Housewright and Coach Mellontree ran the show that year. My “bumping” partner was Teresa. She now works in another school library. 
   We often swap out books and ideas; however, I will never forget how we first joined together on the volleyball court. 
   She was a year older than I was. I looked up to her and the other upperclassmen.
Okay, back to yesterday. This particular mom has a freshman daughter. My baby girl is a going to be a sophomore. 
   The mom shared with me that her daughter looks up to Blaise and comes home daily with stories about her. Her words shocked me. 
   It never occurred to me that Blaise was old enough for someone to look up to her. She’s always been the baby to us and looked up to everyone else around here. 
   Her big sister takes great care of her. Her brothers’ love, adore, and protect her. 
   When she got into trouble last year and her brothers found out, they firmly asked her a very simple question – does that kid know who you are and who we are? 
   They vowed to take care of business. Luckily, her 9th grade shenanigans ceased pretty quickly and she settled back into good behavior. 
   I told Blaise the good news. Yes, it is good news. She is no longer a small “fish” in the ocean of high school. Somebody sees her as a role model. 
   I visited with her about what that means. She laughed at me as usual, but seemed to proudly hold her head a bit higher. 
   Just like how Cooper looks up to Blaise, I have always had people whom I have admired in both my personal and professional life. Many women modeled for me how to be a better mom and wife. Fellow educators taught me how to teach and evolve into a well-rounded classroom manager. Mr. Jowers often ended discussions and staff meetings by saying “If it is best for kids, we need to do it.” Throughout the years, I have repeated and paraphrased his words. 
   This year especially - teachers, administration, and school personnel are going to have to daily die to self and strive to do what is best for kids. 
   We may be asked to monitor isolation rooms until parents pick up little ones, sanitize rooms, cover classes, master virtual teaching by sharpen our technology skills, and deal with kids coming and going. 
   Our classroom doors may also be revolving this year. “All hands on deck” comes to mind. Unity and teamwork will be a must! There truly can be no “I” in the word team.  
   Without unity in 2020 – we may all fall apart or go completely bonkers! I used to pray Psalm 133:1 for my family. I am praying it this year for my work family. David wrote “How good and pleasant it is when God’s people live together in unity.” 
   Another translation reads “How good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity.” 
   I have missed school so much! It is part of who I am. I am ready to dwell in unity with my people and prayers are appreciated!

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