May 22, 2020
The attempts made by teachers to reach out to students during this time go far beyond the online communication. Throughout this period of online learning, they have moved on to become an essential support system for families in need.
“I have FaceTimed with a few students whose parents asked me to talk to in hopes of motivating them,” Henderson said. “I am [also] present for meal distributions on Wednesdays at my campus and talk to students in their car asking if they have been reading and doing their work. It’s important to ensure our parents feel the most supported during this time since they are taking on the primary teacher presence in the home. Any time I see or talk to a parent, I always ask if there is anything we can do to support their family.”
With the constant confusion surrounding today’s academic reality, teachers have had to deal with getting their younger students to adapt. As a way to normalize the situation and bring light into an otherwise dark period of time, teachers have gotten in touch with their creative sides, serving as testimonies that online learning does not have to be a bore.
“It has been a challenge to help our younger ones to participate in the learning and all the activities we have created,” Diaz said. “Yet, we have amazingly creative teachers and staff that have done wonders to maintain some kind of normalcy for all our students. We have had ‘special guests’ including our counselor, specials teachers, administrators and other parents in cartoon costumes to maintain their engagement. To manage classes better, our teachers have also broken their groups into smaller numbers to provide a more direct instruction and attention to all of our students.”
As a staff, teachers have found the value of staying connected amongst each other during this time. They recognize teamwork is the one true tool that can help them further serve their students and will ultimately carry them forward during this period.
“My message is that we must keep united with our purpose in mind to go through this,” Diaz said. “Interestingly, our theme this year was #StrongerTogether. I believe we are hyper-aware now that we live in a society that is codependent on others to meet even our basic needs. We must be empathetic.”