Today, I participated in a live webinar lead by Lucy Calkins and it was incredible. The information shared was so overflowing with love and support for students, all I could do to keep up was dive into taking notes as fast as I could. Hearing from such powerful voices think through some of the same difficult conversations many of us teachers have struggled through was moving. There were so many creative and thoughtful ideas shared, it left my heart and mind filled.
Out of that beautiful experience, one single idea stuck in my head the moment I heard it. The idea was to have students keep a “Pandemic Journal.” We are living through a historical event. Writers have an opportunity to document their lives during this pandemic. How fitting it is to be slicing during all of this scary and uncertain time.
I know I have written bits and piece of my experiences during this pandemic, many of us have, but today it will be deliberate. Here is my pandemic slice…
Today, I contacted parents via text and email. I also called each one of them. My last parent conversation ended at 9:30 PM tonight. I am exhausted.
My parents are of all backgrounds and many cultures – a beautiful wide range. I absolutely love the diversity in my dual language classroom. It is both challenging and beyond rewarding. I miss them. And I made sure to let them know that when I reached them by phone. The work of calling each family was not easy. Before the phone calls, I worried about some not having enough food or not having time to continue reading and writing. There was and continues to be so much on my mind, but I had to focus on simply asking each of them, “Are you all okay?” “How are you?” “Is there anything you need?” “Do you all have enough food?” After that, I encouraged reading and writing and shared my thoughts on balancing time on and away from technology.
Each phone call pulled on my heart in ways I did not expect. I started to notice the phone calls were taking much longer than I anticipated. It took me a few phone calls before I realized why they were taking longer than I had planned. All week I worried about students and their emotional needs, but I didn’t realize that their parents also needed to hear supportive words. I knew to check on families, I knew to check for necessities like food, but it did not occur to me to offer parents some emotional support. They needed to hear my voice as much as their kids needed to hear my voice. I am grateful for the time to have those conversations and today I was reminded that we are not only a child's teacher, we are much more than that for families.
Teachers are needed greatly. Our students AND their families need us maybe now more than ever. Human to human connection is priceless. We really are all in this together.