National Teachers’ Day #sol20
Where We Are Right Now
May 5, 2020
Before I saw this quote this morning, I was thinking about the truly astonishing feats I have seen educators create in the last seven weeks. I was considering the things they have taught me, encouraged me to create, inspired me to do in the last fifty-five days.
If we just consider technology… I have learned to google meet and show something on my laptop camera by holding it up that folks can actually read. I have been schooled in google classroom and can create, populate, broadcast, edit, and share from that platform. I can create various types of youtube videos including how-to’s, demonstrations, read alouds, assignments, and lessons. I can share my screen and unfortunately use three devices to watch three lessons at the same time. I have even learned how to not see myself in all these meetings, small groups, lessons, and videos.
If we consider collaboration… My collaboration meetings are actually stronger in some ways during isolation. There are few distractions or interruptions. We have fallen into a rhythm meeting weekly to plan, discuss, problem solve and challenge each other. I also meet with my professional learning communities each week. I have added a few key meetings, my “Covid-19” group on Tuesday and Thursdays and baking with my mentor on Tuesdays. We share documents and movies, successes and worries. These meet ups feel productive and necessary and hopeful.
If we consider professional learning… I may have spent more time in professional learning in the last seven weeks than in the last year. Thanks to TCRWP, I went to over thirty zoom trainings during our isolation along with a three day institute and several office hours. Those meet ups have showed me, taught me, encouraged me to challenge myself in parsing my instructional practice down to its bones and build it back up again in this new frontier. Along with that learning, our district provided platform learning and coaching, a template for the new model for school, and endless encouragement from our leadership.
More than any of that, and it’s a great deal, I have been encouraged by the bravery, stamina, risk-taking, endless flexibility of the educators I call my learning community. From Gwen teaching me and half the teachers in the world to make a document camera from some cans, magnets, and our mobile phones to phone calls where we work out how to make this feel like ‘school’ for our students, I have been shown time and again about how educators are strongest when they are learners themselves.
Some of the amazing things I have seen are endless ways teachers reach out to students and families through emails and google meets, videos and platforms, they are constantly making it warmer, more inviting, more accessible, closer to the core every single day… even on day twenty seven and counting. The educators I admire are making anchor charts, puppets, read alouds, book lists, phonics, writing, spelling, morning meetings, conferring come to life for students every single day. They are checking in with students, checking out new techniques, experimenting with video and live, questioning themselves, asking students and parents about their experiences, and generally giving it 110% seven days a week for as long as it takes.
These educators are not counting the days until summer vacation because they want to quit. They are counting these days because they want to fill each and every one with opportunities for students to build agency and feel connected, to experience success and be encouraged, to learn and learn and learn.
So on National Teachers’ Day, I wish you knew my heroes, those educators, who are amazing and inspire me every day, but never more than this day.