May 24, 2020: Year #26 is in the Books!
Well that’s a wrap! This week I went into school and packed up my classroom for summer for the 26th time. While there have been many changes, challenges, catastrophes, and crisis, during my years as a classroom teacher, this year has certainly been like no other. But like all difficulties, there are lessons to be learned. As I reflect, I think there are definitely things that can be learned that can help us moving forward.
1) The power of the teacher/student relationship cannot be underestimated.
It is those relationships that make learning possible. It is those relationships that have made possible what was accomplished these last few months. The commitment teachers have to their students was the driving force that allowed schools and districts to continue instruction after closing buildings. The connections students have to their teachers is what enabled them to jump into this unknown world, knowing their teacher would be there for them. Teachers have always known that the relationships they build with their students is the most important work they do.
Hopefully now the powers that be will realize the value of the time and energy put into building those connections.
2) Technology, while an amazing tool, cannot solve all our problems.
As we have moved to Distance Learning, the technology available has been wonderful- allowing many teachers and students across the country to continue to work together and grow. This time though, has also shown us that not all learning can take place digitally. It has exposed the parts of teaching and learning that need to be face-to-face, and that not all students learn best in front of a screen. It has also laid bare the discrepancies and gaps in resources with which some students must work.
Hopefully now the powers that be will realize that while investing in technology is important, investing in teachers is more valuable.
3) Schools are really the center of a community.
As school buildings were forced to shut down this spring, we realized that they were more than simply a collection of classrooms. They were a place where students got nutritious food, experienced the arts, and found books to read. School was a place where young people built social connections, were physically active, and were part of a community. It was the safe place parents sent their children so they could go to work and contribute to their families and communities.
Hopefully now the powers that be will realize that fully funding public schools has got to be a priority for our country. It is truly the foundation on which our culture and society is built.
To all of the teachers out there doing the same thing: AWESOME JOB!!!!!!!