It is hard to believe, but it’s been an entire year and we’re still doing distance learning. At the beginning we thought it would only last a few months, and still, here. We. Are.
We all know this was never part of the plan. Maybe this was your choice or maybe you had no other choice, maybe you struggled or maybe you thrived, the truth is that everyone found a way to handle this unusual situation, and anyone that went through this can wear their badge with pride.
Zoom meetings, Google Classroom assignments, Seesaw activities and many more. Children, teachers, and parents had to learn this new way of learning, overnight. I’m sure there was a stage of trial and error, but after a year of virtual school, everyone is an expert on this.
Many people talk about his being a year of losses. It is not only the loss of loved ones, but also the loss of normalcy and routine. Children lost time with their friends, adventures at their school, and the opportunity to form relationships and connect. Teachers lost hugs from their students and the chance of watching them grow every day in their classroom.
Every chance we get, we make sure to remind everyone how hard this year has been and the challenges it brought with it. But I would like to recognize some of the good things that came as a result of being stuck at home for a year.
During this year of distance learning, students became more responsible and they learned to manage their time. Our children show us how resilient they can be, because after missing their friends, their school, their world, they simply adapted without complaint. They learned how to use technology to scan their own homework, they set their own alarms, they logged into their video meetings, and completed their tasks. At times, they proved to be more relentless than many adults. You could say this pandemic has robbed them of a school year, but I would rather think on all the things they learned that won’t show up on a report card.
Teachers are angels. Teaching virtually is already complicated, and being on a Zoom call with a bunch of little ones is a task only for the brave. I will never understand how they did it. Connecting to children when there’s a screen between them requires a special gift. Teachers were patient and gently reminded them to mute their microphone and to turn on their cameras for the 111th time. This year, they did double the work to make sure their students continued learning, they loved our children through a screen and made them feel part of a class. Maybe teachers feel they were robbed of an entire year, but they gained a very special place in the hearts of many families.
Parents also learned something this year. We realized how hard it is to teach, and this year at home taught us to appreciate all the work teachers do more. This year was also an opportunity to get to know our children better, to see how they acted in class, and some parents even learned that their children were not the little angels they thought they were. Yes, this year brought many challenges along with it, but it also gave us a unique chance to peek inside our children’s school life, while being their shelter and their biggest cheerleader.
After a year of virtual school, you can say that you did it! Wear that badge with pride because after this experience, now you know that there’s nothing you can’t do.