Summer is almost complete. How was yours? Did you travel, adventure outdoors, see friends and family? Or did you stay close to home trying to wait-out the COVID virus ravaging our state? I stayed close to home with my family, watching news reports with charts and numbers steadily creeping up.
Our district started with distance learning or an online school for K-8 students. The beginning of the school year has highlighted the challenges with internet connections, real-time familiarity with devices, and the shift in my own job as a teacher to a technology trouble-shooter.
The debate also ravages the community. Some parents are adamant that students must be in school and the virus is less serious in the student population. There are many claiming the economy is going to suffer if public schools do not open. Others believe students are suffering by not having in-person classes, sports, and interactions.
Many teachers and some parents are wary of opening school doors and fear contracting the virus themselves or passing it along to other vulnerable family members. Conversations are polarized and antagonistic, often making no substantive headway towards solutions for students.
During all the challenges created by the COVID virus, we have so many other challenges faced by families we are unaware of: and may not ever know. Our job as teachers is to offer grace, acceptance, and a solutions-oriented attitude that lifts our students up and shows them how much they truly matter.
As educators, we must welcome our students with open arms and minds. It is within our power to help them change the world. I look forward to seeing what they do!