I teach Grade One and Two and I miss my students. I was already a little sad about just being away from them for a whole two weeks at Spring Break! I was not prepared to walk away from the classroom altogether. As it became obvious that school wasn’t coming back in session, I approached teaching online with as much strategic thought and enthusiasm as I could find.
Knowing that they all had different families with different resources, different schedules and different dynamics, I made the foundation for my class a very flexible daily challenge – a five point checklist that aimed to keep them working on the most important pieces of their education. Every day, my students are challenged to 1) Do some reading, 2) Do some writing, 3) Do something with numbers, 4) Do something creative, and 5) Do something physical.
As I started gathering resources to support them, I was feeling pretty confident that this list hit the most important things for my students!
Then I started making phone calls and was caught off guard by how emotional the calls were. On my third phone call, I told a little boy in my class how much I missed him and he started to cry. After an emotionally draining first day of calling my students, followed by a full week of teaching online, my takeaway is that no checklist of tasks can possibly cover the most important piece of our kids’ education!
It reminds me of a sermon from back when I was a teenager, where the pastor handed everyone a paper with a list of all the times the term “one another” was used in the New Testament – encourage one another, admonish one another, greet one another, speak to one another… It was a very long list – and for good reason. God made us to be in relationship with each other.
While you are socially isolating with your children, could I encourage you to remember that they may be carrying a sense of loss and grief over the closure of their classrooms and the loss (even temporarily) of those relationships. It is really important that they stay connected with other people. While some of that relational need can and will be met within your own home, please remember to look for connecting opportunities for your children and make the most of them! These are unique times and we really do need to lean into one another through them.