Yesterday I became friends with one of my favorite teachers on Facebook! As soon as he accepted my request, I was flooded with memories of our 6th grade Social Studies class. It was 2008 and we were gearing up for the next presidential election - the candidates being John McCain and Barack Obama. Mr. Lauth had us participate in debates of our own, supporting and defending each candidate in turn. We talked about current events and quickly formed our own political opinions as we immersed ourselves in the world around us. I remember going to class after President Obama was elected and reveling in the fact that I was alive to witness the first African American man to govern our country. This was the first time I knowingly witnessed history in the making.
I didn't always know I wanted to be a teacher, but I think the profession chose me. I think this is a common occurrence for many, including Mr. Lauth. As he was waiting to be drafted for the Vietnam War, he went to meet up with one of his friends who was teaching at the time. His friend suggested that he start substituting and Mr. Lauth found out how much he loved teaching. Before he knew it, he was taking courses at the University of Maryland to become a certified teacher. 35 years later, he was the best teacher I've ever had.
I hope you have the courage to reach out to those who have made an impact in your life and let them know how it has shaped you. As we continue navigating these uncertain times, know that we are currently witnessing history in the making. There is no time like the present!
I wish I was writing this post to leave you with an inspirational message that will send you off with a fire for conquering our new normal, but I'm not. Instead, I would like to share 5 simple facts with you that will hopefully ease your tensions and let you know that we (as teachers) are here for you.
Fact 1 - Virginia schools are closed for the remainder of the school year.
Fact 2 - This does not mean that kids are not expected to learn - instead, we will be providing opportunities for distance learning!
Fact 3 - Nobody has ever done this before... not students, not teachers, and not principals!
Fact 4 - You are not alone! Whether that means in your anxiety, your stress, or your inexperience in teaching this new material... you are not alone.
Fact 5 - We will adjust and we will keep going!
Although it seems silly, all of the facts listed above are true. We can feel all sorts of things about our current situation, but the fact of the matter is, tomorrow is coming... only we can choose how we will conquer our days. Make no mistake... I miss my students and I am sad for the opportunities lost, but I am also excited for the opportunities to come. This means my students get to spend more time with their families, they get to play outside and explore the Earth's offerings. They can develop relationships with their siblings and try new things. Some kids will learn to ride a bike. Some will build a secret fort - no parents allowed! For the first time in years, they just get to be kids. That is something to celebrate!
So like I said, I miss my students, but I am choosing to conquer my days with gratitude and positivity. I will rise to the challenges that each day brings so that my students can continue to just be kids. So for that reason and that reason alone, let's rise to the challenge. Together.
Thoughts an activities accomplished throughout our time together!