Anyone who ever wondered what it was like back in the days of the one-room schoolhouse may have found their answer this year. Or maybe not. After all, there was the kitchen, the living room, the bedroom, the garage … Maybe it’s more accurate to say there was a lot of learning taking place in a lot of one-house schoolrooms. Teachers across our community did an amazing job – absolutely incredible – in rising up almost overnight to transform their lesson plans from the way they would have presented them in the traditional classroom to making them accessible to kids and their parent/teachers at home.
And as far as educations go, we all learned a lot about Non- Traditional Instruction, Google Classroom, Hangouts, Clever, DoJo and more. Much, much more.
Math, science, history, we were all unraveling a mystery that all started with a big bang: A worldwide outbreak of the coronavirus, Covid-19. It doesn’t get much bigger than a pandemic.
Parents and teachers alike worked and worried and wondered if their kids were learning everything they needed what I do know, based on what I’ve seen and heard from my own children, grandkids, colleagues and friends:
Kids may have learned some of the most important lessons of their entire lives during this event.
For older students, U.S. history became more interesting as they watched news broadcasts of national, state and local leaders discussing their responses to the outbreak of the deadly virus. Science and biology were suddenly more real and relevant … and members of the medical profession were finally given their rightful due, hopefully inspiring future generations to explore careers in this heroic field.
“Specials” like art and physical education were limited only by imagination. Chalk art on the driveway, hopscotch on the sidewalk and long walks with parents, siblings and the family dog lasted as long as you wanted – or until the thick sticks of chalk were worn down to stubs – with no bell to signal an end to the fun.
Kids measured ingredients to make brownies, cupcakes and cookies, following directions grandmother on a faded index card.
Then – for extra credit, if you will – the children wrapped up those treats and tied the packages with bright ribbons and gift tags, carefully and neatly wrote “Thank you” notes and “I miss you” messages, and hopped into their car seats as Mom drove them to the homes of their teachers and friends to deliver these tokens of appreciation and thoughtfulness.
I think it’s fair to say that everyone has passed this test with flying colors, graduating from this unprecedented school year … if only because the curve leans generously toward the side of “We did the best we could.”
This will all be over someday, and things will go back to what we used to take for granted as normal, but we will appreciate it more than we ever did before.
And when we reflect back on the Spring of 2020, we will remember it as the year we learned the most important lessons of all: We are stronger not because we are together in one room, but because we are together in spirit.