We were sitting in the auditorium on Friday, March 13th. We’d just finished our in-service on the preparation for students if the schools would be closing. Our principal had called a brief faculty meeting to update us on how the district would be handling the Coronavirus. I, like others, saw how surrounding states and districts closed schools to help reduce the possibility of the virus spreading. Most of us knew what was coming, but once we closed, the reality of life for the foreseeable future kind of hit home. More to the point, we said, “wow, this is crazy!”
You see, we’ve had snow days, holidays, power outages and other events that have disrupted a few days of teaching and learning. But this is different. For all of us! It’s the first time an unplanned event has impacted how we teach, and how our students’ learn. It’s given me, and many others, a serious pause unlike any other times we’ve experienced in our careers. With that pause though has come some thoughts and reflective ideas that I’m hoping you’ll like.
About 5 years ago, there was this “talk” that online learning would be taking the place of teachers in the classroom. Even though others had fears about this, I reminded them of the importance that we play by actually being with our students. Truth be told, all the technology is something I’ve embraced. And there have even been a few occasions where I thought, “wow, these kids don’t need me!” Now that the coronavirus has hit, one positive thing has come to a realization. A real life teacher in schools isn’t going away! No matter how advanced learning becomes, nothing can take the place of being with kids/teens!
Whatever content you teach, it is truly the connections you make that shape our schools. I MISS BEING IN SCHOOL!!! As challenging as teaching is, I miss chatting with students and my colleagues each day. I miss the hand shakes (yep, I said “hand shakes”), high fives, smiles and constant banter that’s been a huge part of my life. Yes, it’s going to return. But in this moment it helps me to realize how satisfying it is to work with students and other professionals.
The coronavirus will pass! I remember when 9/11 happened. It shook our nation to the core. Watching how we united as a nation will always remind me how proud I am to live in our great country. Many thought that 9/11 would have a lasting impact, and it did. That impact was how we came together as one to help others rise above the pain of losing a loved one. This time is no different. Yes, the circumstances may not look or feel the same, but it’s how we can show similar acts of kindness towards others that will show who we are as a people. When you return to your students, think long and hard about what all of us have gone through. These tough times should create reflection for every single person, no matter if you’re in school or not. I believe that we will end up better than ever. Our students will thrive with our help. Let us keep believing that positive changes happen even in the hardest of times. Thanks for all that you do to make our world a better place. Spread kindness and compassion, it matters!