By Jenn Drake, Early Elementary Classroom Teacher
Now that summer is here – even though it sort of feels like every other day this spring due to the pandemic – I can take time to relax and reflect on the massive pivot our world has taken. What’s first and foremost on my mind is that I never want to join another Zoom meeting in all my life. I totally appreciate that we were able to stay in contact with our students during the school closure, but it just wasn’t the same. There were so many times where I could tell someone was confused or anxious or bored, but I couldn’t step out into the hallway with them and discuss it. I couldn’t offer a hug or an extra pep talk. With the kids on mute, I just rolled right on, dispensing information, modeling steps to solve a problem, and feeling drained and disconnected all the while. To be fair, doing nothing wouldn’t have worked, either. And we did a really good job creating and designing curriculum that built off what we had already done and offered plenty of challenges to engage the minds of our students.
I suppose what this closure reiterated to me is how much heart goes into daily life at school. How much the relationships we build with students, and they with each other, matter. How there’s an energy that permeates the room, and when read right, can be guided to the most wonderful, mind-blowing, world-altering places. A Zoom room just can’t do that.
I can’t wait for the moment when I can sit next to a child, look into their eyes, offer encouragement or a high-five, and change directions when I need to, and get on my knees to help problem-solve an argument. I can’t wait to see their smiles when they discover something new and reach out to me to share it. School is a wondrous place where hearts and minds are encouraged to grow and be transformed. Let’s get back in there. And soon.