On Friday morning, Jones Public School teachers and staff lined up their cars and weaved through neighborhoods to wave to their students in the teacher parade. Out of the classrooms since March 11, many teachers and students thought they would have only a short farewell as everyone happily skipped off to Spring Break. The excitement of an extra day off on Thursday to support the girls varsity basketball team added to the fun of the holiday, as no one expected the week and a half long vacation would actually mark the end of the school year in the classroom.
Without proper goodbyes to their students, Jones teachers were not ready to leave their classes of 2019-2020. Instead of settling for online meetings with their students and distance learning packets, they took to the streets, parading through the town hoping to catch a glimpse of their kids. Families pulled out lawn chairs and children made signs as they waved to their beloved teachers, principals, and support staff who drove past. Many honks and waves and possibly a few tears made the morning a special one for teachers, students, and parents alike.
The timing of the parade was perfect, after the students finished their first official week of distance learning. Many parents are working from home and learning to balance their normal responsibilities alongside helping their children stay on track with their education. Through this experience, a deeper love and affection has emerged for our children’s teachers, who have dedicated their lives to educating our children.
While we are all finding a new normal during this COVID-19 crisis, teachers too are making adjustments in their daily routine. Trying to educate students and support parents presents a challenge for them as well. The face-to-face interactions with children, which drew many of them to the profession, have been replaced with digital online meetings and weekly packets sent home to parents. As Mrs. Warnock, 2nd Grade Teacher states, “I miss being in class. When I signed on to be a teacher I never thought this is what it would look like.” The sadness that both the teachers and their students are experiencing being away from their classroom is one of the many blows we all feel in social distancing.
However, this bright spot at the end of the week reminds each of us that we are all in this together, even if we must remain 6 feet apart.