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Failure of Our Children Is NOT an Option

(I have had a long time to think over the last week or so about where we are in our world right now. A lot of it is going to spill out in words. Sorry but that's what we English teachers do).

We’re all struggling right now with this new "normal." Teachers are missing their students terribly. I like to tell people that I taught literally thousands of kids in my career; so, I have thousands of “children” of my own, even though most are adults now. Parents too are struggling. Many are working to help their children through at home lessons while also trying to hold down their jobs. Increasingly, more of them are also facing uncertain financial futures because of layoffs, adding to their worries and family pressures. Life has changed dramatically in days. Today doesn’t look like last week. The coming weeks aren’t likely going to look like this week either. With all of the upheaval, the ones who are struggling the most are our children. By nature, they crave routine and normalcy. It gives them security in a world that to them already feels scary enough as it is, let alone worrying about circumstances they can’t fully grasp. Now they have been ripped away from the one place that many children see as a singular place of safety and comfort: school. That’s why it is so vital that we continue to try to provide as much normalcy as we can for our children. At home instruction can be something that not only helps them to stay engaged academically, but it can also provide reminders of being in school with their friends and teachers, when life felt “normal” to them. Teachers can stay connected with their students online or by a simple phone call perhaps. Hearing one another’s voice might provide an uplifted spirit just when needed, either for the teacher or the child. We need each other. Teachers need our students as much as they need us sometimes. Parents, those of us in education truly understand that this is daunting for you as well. Perhaps you are trying to work while also worrying about childcare. Maybe the lessons your child is working on at home feel beyond your scope to adequately teach. We know. We get it. These are uncharted waters in which we are adrift. I PROMISE you that we really wish we could have your children at school with us too. I always like to say that schools collectively are a three-legged stool: the school itself (which includes students and the adults in the building), parents, and the community at large. Remove any one of those “legs” and the “stool” can no longer stand. We all collectively are in this together to do what is best for the children. Period. It will be tough and there will no doubt be trials along the way, but we will not let the stool fall because failing our children is NOT an option.

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