In talking with a teacher and friend, I jokingly said, “Yeah, in my interview they never asked me how I planned to provide instruction and education to quarantined students in case of a global pandemic.” The idea of providing an education to kids seems like a nearly impossible task: how can we expect parents to teach? How do we get content to kids with no internet? What if kids don’t do the work? How can we accommodate our students with special learning needs? How will our kids receive meals?
These, and a million other questions, have been plaguing educators all over the world, and to say the least, the past few weeks have been totally overwhelming and humbling. It has been suggested that educators “are building the plane while flying it” as they work to create and develop content and instruction for students, and to be quite honest, I wasn’t sure if that plane was ever going to get off the ground.
However, as I sit in my office today and reflect on the recent weeks, I have no doubt that this plan will not only get off the ground, but it will fly as well. No doubt about it, this pandemic has presented our school and district with many challenges; however, it has also solidified my trust in education.
Educators were given almost no notice, and they were asked to completely redesign what school looks like, and in about 24 hours local administrators and teachers had redesigned public education: kids learning; children being fed; and needs being met in the midst of a global crisis.
Our Food Service Staff gave up their vacation to ensure that children were fed. The High School Career Counselor sat outside on the sidewalk in the rain to collect scholarships for students. A math teacher sat outside on the concrete 6 feet away to explain concepts to a struggling student. A science teacher created a “virtual” lab for students to complete. Teachers are using their personal cell phones to call their students to check on them. Office staff called over 700 parents to figure out how to best support their child with technology. Teachers are answering hundreds of emails each day from concerned students and parents.
It makes me feel pretty dang blessed and grateful to have folks like this on my team, and each day I am completely humbled to be surrounded by such bright, creative, talented, loving, patient, forgiving, sympathetic individuals. I truly cannot think of another profession that could describe its employees in such a way.
It is without question that this pandemic has created chaos; but it has also provided the opportunity for school officials to build community, albeit remotely, to make a positive impact in the future of education and on the future of our children.
I know that this plane will get off the ground, and the plane will fly, but only time will tell if we are “free to move about the cabin.”