Last week, my daughter (a kindergarten teacher) shared with me a video she sent her students and families. She was informing them of the necessity of moving to an online format. The decision to transition to virtual learning was made on a Friday afternoon during teacher training when a teacher (home sick) informed the principal she tested positive for COVID 19. The staff quickly shifted gears and spent the rest of the day preparing to teach their students online instead of face-to-face for an undetermined amount of time.
As her mother, I cried watching this dedicated teacher tearfully try to explain to five and six year olds in a video that she could not greet them Monday morning at the door, with a smile, welcoming them into the learning environment she had so meticulously prepared in August.
There was nothing in her pre-service training about how to teach during a world-wide pandemic. There was no crisis plan written for her to memorize prior to March 2020. She absolutely loves her students and her job and it was devastating to observe the video and adequately provide hope of a better tomorrow.
Teachers across the country are developing some amazing resilience when their method of delivering instruction is changing weekly. I have observed more educator stress and sorrow in the past six months than I have in my tenure of the profession. The famous quote, “It takes a big heart to shape little minds” could not be more relevant in today’s world of teaching. Many of you recognize and share the worries teachers have of not providing a meaningful education online, of not hugging a student who desperately needs one, of not being able to celebrate the ah-ha moments with their students in person, of not feeling confident in the hard work they are doing because teaching online was not in their toolbox of strategies.
An appreciation, especially during the most trying of times, shown toward teachers is paramount for their stamina. I’m proud to serve alongside these dedicated professionals. Thank you.
Nanette Merrill, Principal