The Future Looks… Challenging #sol21

During the month of March I will be writing every day in the company of my fellow slicers in our writing community annual Slice of Life Story Challenge with Two Writing Teachers. This is Day #13.

The Future Looks… Challenging #sol21 13/31

March 13, 2021

It seems only fair that I write about the view through the windshield since I looked in the rearview mirror yesterday.

Dearest Educators,

I know that your practice, your pedagogy, your routine is going to make a fast change on you again soon, just like it has several times in the past year. It’s probably hard to even catch your breath, but you’ve got this. I’ve been watching nearby and it’s pretty amazing what you’ve accomplished, so I’m sure the next hurdle doesn’t have anything on you. In the past year you’ve….

… taught yourself to teach in any situation. My goodness, who had ever even used synchronous and asychronous in a sentence before last March? But here you are, shifting between live teaching with kids in front of you, to teaching on video calls, to making videos… seamlessly.

I mean really! You taught yourselves how to create a video studio out of… well, everywhere. Your closet, your basement, a corner of your kitchen, your sunporch became a video studio/classroom. You make ‘zoom’ backgrounds to enhance the learning. You recreated your classroom setting in your house. You made it seem like you always had a plan to rearrange that corner of your dining room into a calendar, a motivational wall, a photo gallery.

You. You were undaunted by technology. You created document cameras and youtube channels. You filmed on your phone. You figured out how to read a story with slides, with props, on a podcast. It’s so amazing I don’t really have words for it. Google classrooms, seesaw videos, dozens of platforms, google slides, pear deck, jamboard, nothing could stop you.

You taught a whole nation what school really was. All those people who secretly and not-so-secretly believed that what you do on a daily basis was akin to playing all day are now definitely thinking something else. They are thinking that you are a miracle worker. They are believing that teaching some new content or even reviewing content is perhaps the hardest thing they have ever tried. And you, you explained it all over and over again, in every way possible. You had videos for families, step by step lessons to try at home. You made copies. You made phone calls. You made time… to explain over and over again. Your patience seemed to have no end.

You came back when no one knew how easily the virus was spread. You barely hesitated. No one knew if the books we read and shared were carriers. If the paper the students wrote on. You masked up. You made sure that each and every kiddo was safe. You mastered talking through plexiglass. You mastered mask breaks, even in subzero weather. You mastered endlessly cleaning and sanitizing. You can talk over an air purifier. You can pump hand sanitizer, carry a trashcan and a conversation all at the same time. That virus couldn’t stop you.

You’re a content master! You can bend over backwards to create content that students (and their families) can realistically do and understand at home. You can adapt that same content in ways that were unimaginable before… five minutes ago in order to help someone understand. You can figure out how to translate all of it into three or four languages. You can create diagrams and drawings, samples and tools for days. You can do things I am fairly certain you didn’t know that you could do yesterday.

So… you can do this. You can gather all of those far-flung kiddos back into those classrooms. You can figure out how to tanagram the desks and rugs into a safe distance. You can use technology and video, ingenuity and spunk to make lessons fun and engaging, challenging and interesting. You can. I’ve seen you do more with less. Now you are going to have those young engaged minds in front of you every single day. You’re going to create routines to keep the learning going. You’re going to move all those students forward. You’re going to stitch together your learning community with seams no one could detect.

How fortunate am I to have a front row seat to this miracle, to be the assistant to this magic! Oh yeah, you’ve got this. I can’t wait to see it unfold.

11 thoughts on “The Future Looks… Challenging #sol21

  1. Thank you for focusing on the good that’s come from the Herculean efforts of teachers, who held on and held together as the world tipped. I’ve seen extraordinary things accomplished virtually, ones I couldn’t have imagined. My word for the year is awe; I have been awed by my colleagues near and far. Heroes, all. And so are the children. Here, all of our cohorts are disbanding – K-3 returned recently and 4-5 are all returning together on Monday. Some students whose parents have elected them to remain virtual will continue online learning with teachers only teaching virtually, while all other teachers will no longer have to teach face-to-face and online at the same time – miraculous, indeed.

  2. What an inspiring reflection but better still vote of confidence to continue on. We’ve had too many first days this year but we keep coming back!

  3. Thank you for all this positivity and optimism. We can do this and we’ve learned a lot along the way last year. Our tool bags have grown and will support us moving forward.

  4. Thanks for the encouragement. We’re looking forward to our next first day of school on 3/22, in person with barriers. I needed this reflection!

  5. A note of encouragement goes a long way. The supervisors who go that extra mile to thank their staff, make a lasting impression. Your post shows you know it takes an entire village to shape the future generations. This new educator just wanted to say, thank you.

  6. Your colleagues are so fortunate that you see them. Teachers have been hit hard this year and to have someone actually realize what this year has demanded, you nailed it. I know you’ll be cheering and spreading bits of this letter in the moments that are tough. But it will be worth it.

  7. The quote you pictured in the beginning was perfect. The quiet voice that says “I will try again tomorrow.” I like how you chronicled all teachers did and are doing. This was such a validating read and vote of confidence in us teachers. Perfect timing. (I also like your rear view mirror/windshield reference!)

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