I have something to confess; after 2 years of living under COVID, I’d started to feel pretty hopeless. This despair reached its peak (or perhaps more accurately – its pit) over the holiday break. I couldn’t shake the notion that 2022 would be no different from the years that came before. This also happened to be the time when I stumbled across #TeamSeas.

#TeamSeas is a global campaign to raise 30 million dollars to remove 30 million pounds of plastic and trash from our ocean, rivers, and beaches. By partnering with online creators, as well with charities like Ocean Conservancy and The Ocean Cleanup, the leaders of the movement hoped to make our world a better place. The deadline was January 1st, 2022, and honestly, I didn’t think they would make their goal. Still, I chose to donate what little money I could. I wanted to try and help – even if it was a lost cause.

Except…it wasn’t a lost cause. To my utter amazement, #TeamSeas not only reached their goal, but managed to surpass it on January 1st! The experience served to remind me that there is always hope and that things can get better, so long as we’re willing to try.

Help and Hope

I know that right now many educators are experiencing the same feelings of gloom that I experienced. It’s hard to be positive about the 2022 school year. Educators are burnt out and overwhelmed. Administrators have their hands full juggling learning loss, safety protocols, and teacher welfare. Not to mention, COVID continues to be a menace on daily life.

Nevertheless, we can still be hopeful about the coming months. Organizations like VAI exist because we want to empower teachers and help shoulder their burdens in difficult times. Not to mention that there are many people out there (both parents and students) who would gladly join educators in making the world a better place. So, in the spirit of hope, here are a few ways you can make a real difference in 2022:

  • Help Students Set Goals and Spread Kindness: Take advantage of four free activities from Blue Apple and teach students to spread kindness throughout their community. Use origami to shape beautiful, encouraging notes that will put a smile on someone’s face. You can also lead students through a goal-making activity that will set them up for an amazing year.
  • Inspire Change through PBL: Want to do your part in protecting the planet? Through project-based learning, your students can make a positive impact on the environment while developing their skills in math, science, reading, and more! Projects like What’s in Your Water and State of Sustainability teach students how to preserve our natural resources while giving you the chance to do what you do best – teach!
  • Network with Peers: Would you like to be part of a conference designed by experts and current classroom teachers to provide research-based, classroom-tested, and inquiry-oriented content that supports your classroom expectations? VAI’s Science on the Grand not only gives teachers an opportunity to discover the latest STEAM resources and strategies, but it also gives them space to connect with other like-minded educators.
  • Join Webinars: If free resources are what you need, look no further than VAI’s upcoming webinars. These sessions are free to attend and discuss everything from infusing critical thinking in ELA to finding time when you’re stretched too thin. And no worries if you can’t make the time, all are webinars are recorded and available to watch on demand!
Let’s Try

I hope this post has brought you some encouragement and inspired you to look ahead with confidence. 2022 will indeed have its share of challenges, but when we work together, there’s no telling what we can accomplish. Let’s spread the hope and make this year one to remember!

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