My goodness, what a start to the school year!
I remember planning for this year over summer. I prayed for each of my future students, that they would be happy and safe where they were. I felt heartache, knowing that it was likely that they’d have to begin the year without being able to safely attend schools in person.
Kids are so awesome.
The school year began, and I saw students showing up, day after day, to our virtual Meets. They had created learning spaces where they could station “school” at home.
Actually, I wouldn’t even call it “school.” It’s School!
I saw students raising their hands, communicating, contributing to discussion. I watched as they devoured every assignment I threw at them these first couple weeks of distance learning. They have been so willing to try every assignment and task I have set before them in our current virtual platform. And it’s working! We have successfully launched just about every part of our core curriculum.
This hasn’t been without its challenges. In a normal year, students would have to mentally cope with a new classroom, get the feel of their new books, get used to their new teacher, and all the other things that make a school year both exciting and nerve-wracking. This year, they have to do all of that PLUS cope with scary stuff on the news every night, financial hardships in our country, being far away from their school and their friends, AND learn a totally new set of virtual education tools just to do homework which would have normally taken them 5 minutes.
It’s a lot.
I point this out because I want children everywhere to know how phenomenal they are. When they show up, day after day, tired or frustrated from the technology and emotional burden of the pandemic, and they are willing to read, giggle, write, learn, think, wonder, discuss, persevere in problem solving, AND click programs which seem to have a built-in crash experience….they are superheroes.
I’m so proud and happy for these students, and students everywhere. They get themselves prepared and ready. Stuff crashes, internet connection goes down, and they get frustrated. Then you know what these magnificent kids do? They feel their feelings, catch their breath, get adults involved and make a plan, and get back to work! They are showing up, and telling the world with all its problems, “I have a future.”
I’d like to think I would have the same strength of character when I was 9 or 10. But the point is, I’ll never know because I’ve never had to be so strong as students are today.
To these super students here and everywhere, I can’t speak enough about my feelings of respect for each of them and how they are facing the challenges of this school year head-on. And for any kids who wonder: no, that doesn’t mean I’ll be any easier on grades LOL!!! In fact, you will probably find that I will always give you an opportunity to choose to improve. After all, you are showing up like a champ to work through an unprecedented school year. You are here, doing the work, trying, failing, trying again. I’m here to help grow and refine your mind–your vehicle–so that you can take yourself as far in life as you choose to.
The fourth grade adventure continues…..
Margaret Yakhnenko, M. Ed