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Mini Memoir 6 words
Teaching

This Awful Year in 6 Words

December 17, 2020 1 min read
Teaching

This Awful Year in 6 Words

December 17, 2020 1 min read
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How would you summarize 2020—the most infuriating, frightening, depressing year in recent memory—if you had only six words to do it?

That’s what we invited our readers—and our staff—to do.

We were inspired by the legend that Ernest Hemingway, challenged to write a novel in six words, came up with this aching tidbit: “For Sale: Baby Shoes, Never Worn.”

Here are just 25 of the many powerful mini-memoirs you sent us.

I can’t hear you. You’re muted!
Worst year in history. Corona sucks.
Everyone is at the breaking point.
Bars are open. Schools are closed.


No one in my family died.
Hello class, can everyone hear me?
Sad, depressing, weird, house bound. Strange.
So many losses, but we're surviving.


We must do better next time.
The superintendent cried during our interview.
First year teacher: crying and trying.
I have no motivation for anything.


Hardest year of teaching so far.
I'm sure I have no idea.
One exhausting Zoom meeting after another.
Unpredictable, violated, angry, dismal, shocking, progress.


Challenging, resilience, experimentation, learning, grace, community.
My students need more of me.


Happiness, hysteria, helplessness, hostility, humility, hope.
We're doing the best we can.

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Most Popular Stories

Veronica Esquivel, 10, finishes her homework after her virtual school hours while her brother Isias Esquivel sits in front of his computer on Feb. 10, 2021, at their residence in Chicago's predominantly Hispanic Pilsen neighborhood. Her mother, Rosa, worries that her diabetes and her husband's high blood pressure could put their lives at risk if their kids brought the coronavirus home from school.
Veronica Esquivel, 10, finishes her homework after virtual school, while her brother Isias Esquivel sits in front of his computer in their Chicago home in February. Their mother worried that sending them back to in-person learning would put her and her husband at risk for getting COVID-19.
Shafkat Anowar/AP
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