A year ago, we were on the cusp of this new reality. Little did we know all the ways in which a global pandemic would change our everyday lives and cost us the lives of so many. As science discovered new information about this new virus, we struggled through the uncertainty.
Teachers and students were among the first affected. The schools shut down and then the economy shut down.
Teachers rolled out online learning plans, made sure students had the technology to access the lessons and handed out meals for students. Eventually, here at least, the economy reopened and the students returned to much-changed learning environments.
Being among their peers, back in the classrooms is important not just for educational purposes, but also for mental and physical health. The CDC notes, “It is critical for schools to open as safely and as soon as possible, and remain open, to achieve the benefits of in-person learning and key support services.”
Teachers provide more than just lessons. They also provide emotional support. Just about everyone has a story or stories of the teachers who impacted their lives. These are the teachers who push students to be better when they see unreached potential, but who also offer care and comfort when it is needed most.
For some children, schools are where they know they’re safe from abusive or dysfunctional home lives. Routines and schedules are important to all children, and the disruption students faced in learning and in our changed society may have a lasting impact. The events of the past year have likely traumatized some students, and it is our teachers who deal with the effects of that.
We ask a lot of our teachers: educate, love, protect, guide and counsel our children. On top of that, there are the administrative tasks, the hours of grading and the classroom supplies teachers pay for out of their own pockets. It takes a special person to be a teacher.
This special section recognizes some of our amazing teachers. We know, though, that there are far more teachers that could and should be recognized. To all of them, we say a heartfelt “thank you.” We are grateful for the love and care you show our children, and we appreciate the sacrifices and risks you took this year to make things as normal as possible for students.
A+ effort by all.