The Stages of Resilience in an Unprecedented School Year

Chelsea NicolinoBlog, Reflect Better, Teach Happier


  • This year did not go the way we anticipated and every element was constantly changing.
  • Regardless of how unprecedented this year was, you did it. You made it to the end of this chapter.
  • The three stages of resilience from this unpreceded year include regret, reflection, and resilience.

The Stages of Resilience – Stage One: Regret

This school year did not go the way you anticipated. Plans were changing on a turn of a dime and you were expected to push through, to be innovative, creative, and figure it out. You taught students in-person, hybrid, remote, synchronous, and even asynchronous. You taught students through a computer screen or to students separated on an island of desks spaced out six feet apart. Maybe you taught to silent tiny black squares and felt isolated most of the school year.

Now that this chapter in your career is starting to close, you start to take a look back and what do you see? This year tested your patience, your time, your passion, and your mentality. Maybe you found yourself in more of a rut than a spark, or forced into survival mode, grasping for a life preserver as you tried to catch new initiatives while treading in the deep end.

Maybe you were left mourning the teacher you were before when you could share supplies, do a lab that was not through a screen, or have students collaborate in groups without needing to set up a breakout room. You could facilitate a lesson without having to worry if students were too close or not following safety protocol. You think back to “simpler” times. I know because those are all ways I have felt this school year.

Regardless of how unprecedented this year was, you did it. You made it to the end of this chapter. Every day you persevered and kept giving this school year your all. Click To Tweet

The Stages of Resilience – Stage Two: Reflection

When I begin to reflect on what this school year meant to me, I am filled with guilt, dread, and sorrow. I feel as though I was not the teacher I usually am and being a perfectionist this has rocked me to my core. I worry that I was not the best teacher for my students. But then something hits me.

I think back on how hard I worked to make this year memorable for my students. Of the countless hours I spent trying to build relationships through a screen and the experiences I still was able to create for my students.

Regardless of how unprecedented this year was, you did it. You made it to the end of this chapter. Every day you persevered and kept giving this school year your all. This year squeezed every last ounce of your motivation, creativity, and emotion; you’ve poured it all into your passion.

While this school year is many things, one thing is for sure: you are not the same person as you were at the beginning of this year. You are resilient, fierce, determined, and above all, BETTER. This school year has challenged you in so many ways, and the climb to the top of the mountain may not seem like a pleasant experience, or even worth your effort. But once you get to the summit, you remember where you started and that makes the journey that much sweeter. You may not feel it now, but eventually, you will notice how the challenges of this school year have transformed you.

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The Stages of Resilience – Stage Three: Resilience

I almost did not publish this post because it was composed when I was in a raw state. At the time I just needed to get my thoughts out of my head and onto some paper (or a Word Document in this case). However, I know that even if this helps one more educator feel less alone, then it would be worth the vulnerability.

All this to say, you are not alone and however you feel about this previous school year, know that your feelings are valid. Even if this school year was less than ideal, it was still part of your teaching journey. And do me a favor, enjoy your summer. I am rooting for you.

About Chelsea Nicolino

Chelsea Nicolino is an eighth grade integrated science teacher in Akron, Ohio. She has a passion for embedding mastery learning and STEM education into her classroom. Chelsea also enjoys creating engaging inquiry-based lessons for her students to foster their love of science. In her free time, Chelsea loves connecting with other educators on social media, listening to podcasts, reading a good book, and spending time with her husband and two young children.