I’ve read comments the past year on social media about parents’ new-found appreciation for teachers. I hope parents have a new-found appreciation for their children. It has been an adjustment for everyone! I’m glad that I was able to develop a rapport with my students before engaging in distance learning. I applied what I knew when I worked with new students in the fall of 2020. It’s a bit more difficult to form a bond with someone when I don’t get the opportunity to see them in person, observe their body language, or interpret their energy and facial expressions without the interference of digital pixels. I know for some, it feels as if this last school year is a struggle and a waste and that perhaps their child will be behind in the expected learning for the next grade.
With the hope that the 2021-2022 school year will begin on time and on campus, remember that everyone is in the same position. Allowances will be made, review will be built in, expectations will be altered…and as one who was involved in professional development for ten years, maybe this is a chance to reboot the public education system away from assessments and the guaranteed viable curriculum and towards the creativity and professionalism that teachers possess innately, which persuaded them to dive into the education field as a career in the first place.
But for now, encourage students to participate in the distance learning offered by their schools and teachers. Allow for building world knowledge by watching the History Channel, the Smithsonian shows, and taking virtual tours of museums and national parks. Help them to develop a broader sense of what the world entails and how they can affect it (hopefully positively) with their actions. The reading, writing, and math will continue online and will be renewed, just like a fresh, warm spring after a dark, cold winter, when they enter the safe halls of their school.