While I continue my Learning Through Teaching graduate courses for the year, virtually, of course, I am struck by the voices and thinking of those who have been thrown into a completely new way of teaching and living. I am going to share these voices in this blog because well, nobody says it better than they do!
My first teacher is Jess Clark.
I first met Jess at Dover Middle School almost 10 years ago. Jess is the teacher you WANT your child to have; the kind of teacher who knows her students, celebrates her students and works EVERY day to make sure they are all working up to their greatest potential. She is a no-nonsense, get your work done, while smiling and joking along the way spirit. Jess and I have worked closely together over the years, as she incorporates Notebooking into her Social Studies curriculum and then inspired her team members to use them across all content areas. She is the go to girl if you want something DONE! She is a dive-in, go-for-it, discover-what-happens-along-the-way, improvise-as-needed kind of professional guru. Jess, I miss your smiling face, your infectious energy, your kids and the work we did together! Hang in there and I will be right there with you on the other side, a fellow hugging machine!
This is Jess’s recent piece in response to when I asked them to write about teaching and living during a pandemic. We “gathered” on Zoom and all read them aloud to each other. It was moving, stilted and poignant…all at the same time and left me needing to get these voices out into the world. Feast your eyes on Milestones and Silver Linings by Jess.
Milestones and Silver Linings by Jessica Clark
Milestones are missed when you’re on lockdown away from those you love.
Milestones are witnessed through pictures, FaceTime and now the ever so popular Zoom when they should be experienced in person.
Ava laughing for the first time. Noah’s 7th birthday party. Finn learning his new letters. My dad’s cancer not spreading. These are times our family should have been together instead we share these moments through our phones, computers, or waving at each other through a window.
Finn doesn’t understand why his Aunties are sick and can’t visit him. Or why he can’t skip rocks with Papa in the pond because it’s too cold even though the sun is out. That’s the part that melts my heart. He’s two and there’s no way he can understand what is happening.
What this time has taught me early on, is I despise remote teaching. I didn’t get into teaching to sit behind a computer and chat with kids through a camera. Their milestones will be missed as well. Kids change so much in a year and realistically, we aren’t going back to school to send them off with hugs and high fives into summer. It’ll be a wave through a camera with a “Come visit me next year.”
Silver linings…they are there even when they are hard to find. I’m connecting with friends and family more over the phone and FaceTime than ever instead of texts. I’m getting outside for fresh air (does wonders) daily. I’m setting myself boundaries and actually sticking to them when it comes to work and expectations. Saving money on gas and eating in all the time rather than meeting up with friends for apps and drinks.
I just know when we are released from this lockdown, I’m going to be a hugging machine to everyone I see so some of you might want to be prepared. I’ve been told I give great hugs!
For more information on Learning Through Teaching, a form of professional development for educators that happens on site where teachers earn graduate credit check out our website here: UNH LTT
My daughter had Mrs. Clark and I heard so many wonderful things about her. She also left a lasting impression on my daughter who saved the thank you note she received from Mrs Clark in appreciation of the end of year gift. The true gift, though, is what my daughter received from her.