It felt like the world stopped on a dime after that last teacher workday. Of course we had heard about Covid-19, but we had no clue that the Thursday before would be our last day face-to-face with those classes.
But teachers are some of the most flexible people I know. We take hardships and adapt, and even add our own style. Whether we’re teaching in person, online, or both, we make it work, and we make it our own.
2020 brought us self-expression through masks, a perfect visual representation of teachers’ ability to shift paradigms, to morph our instruction and in a way out identities at a moment’s notice. To change everything but still be completely ourselves, still creative, still expressive, still committed.
We have been tested at every turn, many to the point of breakdown. But I want to show who we really are, even through all of this change, who we have always been.
I tapped into the faces from my own personal network as a teacher, where so many teachers find each other, share with each other, and show their successes and their struggles, especially in times of isolation. I collected selfies from my friends on Facebook. Teachers, more than anyone else in my online community, were showing up and showing off their commitment to community safety with their new masks, with that panache that keeps teachers teaching just by being the community models they are.
Some are teacher masks are festive. Some are simple. Some are subject-specific. Some are just pretty. And even though we can’t see these teachers’ smiles, they are showing us who they are and how they care, even when facing new physical, instructional, and emotional challenges.
So I celebrate you, fellow teachers, and all you have faced and are facing still, with smiles on under your masks and masks over the weariness that this massive shift brought into our lives and our students’ lives. I constructed six “walls” representing my own personal teacher networks using a cross-section of mask styles for each and hope to find a place to exhibit them publicly to showcase some brilliant educators I happen to know! I see you and want everyone else to see the beauty of what you are accomplishing.
Buy your “Teachers Facing the Challenge” postcards on Etsy! Series 2 available now!
Order mini prints, framed prints, posters, or even stickers or masks with individual grids or all and more from Society 6!
Posters, shirts, and totes with the “Together” design incorporating all six grid designs also available on Society 6!
Teachers Facing the Challenge
Before I decided how I would combine the portraits into larger pieces for a collection, I had actually prepared 38 portraits! 33 were arranged in sets of 3, mostly for Instagram profile purposes, with a set of 5 holiday masks for when I was just thinking of making 2×2 sets (and experimenting with painting myself first to get into the swing of things!)
Below you can see the total collection arranged by sets!