When the going gets tough, the tough get going
By Susan Jerrell, TOFT Founder
When the going gets tough, the tough get going. I’m looking at all of you in service careers, the medical personnel, pharmacists, EMS, police officers, teachers, cashiers, grocery store clerks, truck drivers, train conductors, trash collectors, etc. The tireless, often underpaid, overworked people the rest of the world depend on in a crisis are heroes, doing your jobs for the greater good.
While others are bickering about the best way to handle this pandemic, you are handling it in your own way. As the backbone of our society, you provide service, caring for, and loving people. You put your own needs and concerns on hold to help others and provide the necessary services to make communities and people survive. Thank you!
As the backbone of our society, you are providing service, caring for, and loving people.
Schools under short notice, reacted to the needs of their community, doing their jobs for the greater good. School boards and administration made hard decisions that affected the lives of their employees, students, and parents. Teachers adapted to online teaching, many without any prior training. Counselors compiled community resources that families can use during their time at home. Staff have been called upon to provide food for needy families, deliver food, deliver at-home packets, and supplies.
During this trying time, the education community continues to provide support. I have watched news stories about teachers and staff driving to homes to deliver school work packets to students who do not have internet access. Teachers have compiled school supplies and left them outside of schools so students who do not have the needed supplies at home can pick them up.
Schools are continuing to provide food daily. Some schools that sponsor monthly food giveaways have had staff and teachers come in to provide drive up service so families still receive food. Some bus drivers are driving their routes and delivering food to help students stay fed.
Teachers are not taking a break
For those who think that teachers are getting a break, the reality is that they would rather be in school. The heartache for teachers is real. They know that all the best efforts in the world will not substitute for the learning that takes place in their classroom.
I have read multiple posts about teachers missing their students and worrying about their well being and safety. Teachers conduct virtual meetings with students, make phone calls, and email, not just about school work, but to check in with them. Educators continue to teach virtually, plan lessons, answer questions, and instruct through video chat. Other teachers use social media to provide support for parents trying to navigate online homeschool for their kids.
Teachers also use this time for professional development. I have even seen many talk about plans they are making for next year. They now use the unexpected school closings to go ahead and do the ideas they have wanted to work on.
Throughout this crisis, teacher concern for the emotional and mental well-being of their students remains at the forefront. Teachers and counselors worry about home situations that may be mentally and physically abusive, especially as more family members are kept inside together. They worry about students who have special needs and may not have the support they need. They know there are kids who are not in food stable homes, who do not get the love and attention they need, who will not have anyone able to help them with school work. Teachers’ hearts break for those children.
Is this the future of education?
Someone asked the other day if I thought this would lead to more online schools and a move away from brick and mortar schools. Would it prove that online schools can do what traditional schools do? My answer is that online schools provide a service that some students and families need. I’m glad they have that option. However, it serves a very small percentage of students. Online schools cannot provide the face to face interaction that so many students and parents need.
What I have noticed is that there seems to be a growing appreciation for what educators do and for the other services schools provide. Schools get a bum wrap and a lot of blame is placed on them. However, communities are seeing that in addition to learning, schools also provide two meals a day, alleviate the need for childcare, provide social services, counseling, and safety. Parents are learning how hard it is to teach their children. Students are discovering that they miss their teachers and friends, their routine, and after school activities and sports.
Schools provide the social and emotional connection that people crave. They provide stability, structure, love, and a home away from home for students. As students and teachers are discovering, those things are not easily done remotely. The tangible and intangible benefits are being greatly missed right now.
Thank you for doing jobs for the greater good
One thing I have not seen during this unsettling time is complaining and negativity from school employees about the things they are expected to do or the uncertainty they feel. Instead, I have seen extreme flexibility and a willingness to try new things if it will benefit kids.
Teachers who are not technology proficient are learning new skills. Other teachers are assisting those who need help in preparing online lessons. I have witnessed genuine concern and positive action by teachers to do their best for students and their families. As always the teachers and schools are stepping up to do their jobs for the greater good.
As we continue to work together through this difficult time, I think we will all grow stronger and see the value that we all bring to the table. We can learn so much through trying times. Educators are the unsung heroes, working behind the scenes for the greater good, and for that I am grateful for each of you.