As my students lined up at the end of the day on March 12th, I reminded them, “Remember to study your spelling words tonight. Tomorrow we’ll learn a new cursive letter and we’ll continue working on our famous American project.”
As they left our classroom, they smiled and each one gave me a hug, handshake, or high five. “Have a great night. See you tomorrow,” I said.
At the time, we had no idea that we had just spent our last day together in our classroom. We had no idea how much we would miss a “normal” school day.
Schools around the world have been closed for months because of a global pandemic. In all my years of teacher education classes and professional development, no one ever mentioned “distance learning” or “remote instruction,” but now it’s a part of our regular vocabulary.
Over the past 9 weeks, I’ve learned how to create, post, and review online assignments, make teaching videos and screencasts, use iMovie, create a virtual Bitmoji classroom, and I’ve become a Zoom expert. There are so many fun virtual backgrounds!
But most importantly, I’ve learned just how much I miss being in a physical classroom with my students.
Distance learning has reminded me that teaching is all about relationships.
I love seeing my students on Zoom calls, but I would rather be sitting with them on our classroom carpet.
I can record a lesson for my students to watch on a device, but I miss the interaction with them and their classmates.
I can type, “I’m proud of you,” when a student works hard on an online assignment but hearing those words in person is much more meaningful.
This has been one of the hardest and most memorable years of my teaching career.
I never expected to feel so heartbroken when schools were closed.
I never expected to pack up my students’ supplies in an empty classroom.
I never expected to say goodbye to them over a Zoom call.
But I always knew that I loved being their teacher.
And I know their teacher next year will love them too.
I'm an ordinary introvert who loves an extraordinary God.