September 24, 2021

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Open Letter Sessions – Jonnai

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To the educators who are preparing for this upcoming school year or those who have
already begun,

After a school year of uncertainty, this is a reminder that you are valid in your feelings
about this school year. Whether you are eager to begin or are still recovering from the
previous year, I want to encourage you to think back to your “why”. In the midst of it all,
it is easy to forget what brought us to this profession. We all have different stories that
led us to become educators. So throughout this school year, I challenge you to take a
moment and reflect back to the beginning of your story.

To the first year educators: I commend you. I commend you for not allowing surrounding
input to deter you. You are stepping into a new beginning that may look a little different
than what you expected, but the purpose is the same-to educate the next generation.
This is a year you will never forget. You will always remember that first school, that first
classroom, that first group of students. The students who are depending on you to help
them grow. They need you, so enjoy every moment!

As we are adjusting to our new “normal”, our mental and emotional states must be
prioritized. We are human before we are educators, and we cannot best serve our
students in the manner they deserve without first taking care of ourselves. Attempt to
make time each day to do something that brings you joy and fulfillment. Most
importantly, give yourself grace, while also extending that same grace to your students
and their families. We are in a season of the unknown, and even our youngest students
can feel it. Let’s make our classroom and presence be that safe space of security and
comfort. Let’s make this school year different from the others.

Jonnai A. Jones
1st Grade Teacher
Philadelphia, PA

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