Yesterday was one of the saddest days I have experienced as a teacher. Yesterday was our last day before going into a mandatory time out of school because of the pandemic created by COVID-19.
You would think that the prospective of having more than 3 weeks of Spring break would excite and make happy any K-12 student or even their teachers. But that’s not exactly what I saw.
I tried to start my first class like things were normal but my intention didn’t last more than a couple of minutes. In no time I understood that the kids wanted to talk, to be heard. We chat about many things, maybe trying to keep our minds away from what everyone is talking about. Although my school has in place a plan to assign and submit academic work, we created snapchat class accounts, with the only intention to support each other. It was agreed that only silly and respectful pictures, videos and stories were going to be sent via this popular app.
Today I sent a snapchat to my AP Spanish language classes and asked them to tell me the first word that comes to their mind when thinking about the Coronavirus. I believe in helping our students verbalize their fears.
The following are the most common words they sent me. I wanted to share these with my world language colleagues because while yes, we must keep them accountable with their academic work online, it’s more important to keep in mind how they feel.
We must be empathetic, kind, flexible and on their side. We must forgive their mistakes while they try to work from home in a situation that is not only stressful for them but for their entire families, their communities and us!
Please keep in mind these words because they are the same words running inside our heads. After all we are only human.
Quarantine, Panic, Scary, Depressing, Sad, Social distance, Unknown, Fear, Anxiety, Sadness, Uncontrollable, Isolation, Pandemic.
All these words explain why instead of celebrating the forced break, we all were sad. It’s the fear of the unknown.
Teachers, in our hands we have the chance to make each day a special one, no matter the way in which the class will be delivered, let’s plan with our hearts and with love.
(This blog post is dedicated to my AP Spanish language students who have also created some lessons that you can share with your students during this difficult time and that I will be posting soon)