Do what you do best. Focus on the important things now. Reclaim your rightful place as head of your classrooms. Be creative. Forget the data. This is your time to reconnect with your students in a more authentic way. Will there be bumps in the road? Yes, of course. It’s expected. Be grateful for the fact that we can try new things without the fear of a high stakes accountability system that grows more outdated by the day. The COVID-19 crisis has laid bare an undisputed truth. Teachers, support staff, students and parents are the engine that transforms public education into our nation’s most glorious asset. What our children really need is you and with the cancellation of all that test prep, the breathing room to think big thoughts.
Teacher Justin Minkel celebrated fellow teacher Mike Soskil for “posting the words I needed to hear.” They are the words we all need to hear.
“I get that teaching is what teachers do. I get that finding some kind of normalcy in this time of upheaval is vital. Before we start looking for the next new tool, the next website we can use, the next learning opportunity, let’s just find ways to connect. The most important thing that we do for our students is love them. That’s more important than ever right now.” – Mike Soskil, Teacher
Minkel continues in his piece What our children need most from us right now, published in EdWeek:
Ninety-seven percent of the children I teach live in poverty. Most have very few books at home. Some don’t have computers. Many of our students depend on school for two-thirds of their meals, and several get snack packs on Fridays, so they don’t go hungry on weekends.
We all have to do our part to make sure those needs are met. But we also have to remember that our students’ first week of learning from home is like the first week of a new school year.
What are the fundamental things we do as teachers during those first days of school?
We make sure our students know they are safe. We convey to them and their families, through words and actions, that they can trust us to do right by them for as long as they are in our care.
In the words of Florida teacher and blogger Chris Guerrieri:
“Parents who have been stressing over distance learning…don’t, it is going to be all right. All over my social media feeds I can see parents stressing about distance learning perhaps even more than teachers which is considerable, let me give you a little bit of advice, don’t. You have a lot of things to stress about during these trying times and if your kid is on the computer six hours a day or a lot less, I mean a lot less, should not be one of them.” – Chris Guerrieri, teacher