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Keep Paddling: A Message From TAGT President Debbie Smith

Although this group is well-versed in unique ideas and creative problem-solving, I'm not certain any of us had remotely envisioned applying our skillset to a circumstance such as this one. “Unprecedented” is the current descriptor being used to describe this event and, I believe, we would all agree that we are navigating through uncharted waters, paddling vigorously to get to the other side.
Greetings TAGT Educators, Administrators, University Leaders, Parents, and Students! 

By this time, we have all been under “stay at home” orders for at least a month, most longer. And, last week, Gov. Abbott announced that we will complete the school year from our homes, instead of our classrooms. Although this group is well-versed in unique ideas and creative problem-solving, I'm not certain any of us had remotely envisioned applying our skillset to a circumstance such as this one. “Unprecedented” is the current descriptor being used to describe this event and, I believe, we would all agree that we are navigating through uncharted waters, paddling vigorously to get to the other side. Most likely, there are many days when we feel as though we are paddling without an oar; others when we feel we could conquer the world; and still others leave us in a dazed and confused state wondering, “Is this my boat?” Nonetheless, it is crucial that we rely on our expertise to meet this challenge head on.

Yes, we can apply our expertise to this challenge! It may feel quite different but, as TAGT Members and supporters, you have the resources and community to help you through these rough waters. Remember to take some time for yourself when feeling overwhelmed or overworked. Working remotely does not change the scope of our work. It is important to remember to fill our own tanks as it is in our nature as educators to look to help others first, especially our students. TAGT Members can access TAGT Connect--a great tool to help you fill your tank when you're feeling isolated, without ideas, or in need of companionship. 

TAGT continues to respond to the unique needs of our organization and provide opportunities for sharing important information. Our goal is to continue to offer creative solutions to ensure we are still able to provide services to our stakeholders. From redesigning face-to-face conferences into remote learning opportunities to our School Closure Resources page and Facebook Live sessions, I am proud of our ability to pivot so quickly while still delivering quality programming. TAGT truly does engage talented volunteers and skilled staff capable of confidently navigating through troubled waters. 

Likewise, our partners have embraced this “new normal” while rising to the challenge created by social distancing by continuing to pledge their support. We sincerely thank them for their dedication to our field. Partners like these make for long-lasting relationships and shipmates. 

Think of the resilience and grit our students are building through this experience. What will these circumstances teach them, and how will it shape their learning journeys? What will it teach us about the learning journey? We will make it to the other side of this river, and we will do it together, each taking our turn to paddle as we support those around us. 

Stay home, stay healthy, and keep rowing.

Sincerely,
Debbie Smith
2020-2021 TAGT President

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