I am blessed to work at a school that has been open for in-person learning since October, 2020. We still went too long without kids in the building, but I am grateful we were able to bring them back at that point. Once we heard their laughter, saw the new “packpacks” they proudly wore, and saw their happy eyes shining above their cloth-covered faces, we all remembered why we went into education. Many of us educators were starting to lose our purpose. As awful as it was and still is for many educators, a few good things have come from the shutdowns... for those who care to look for the good. I have held firm to Romans 8:28. “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” I will share a few good things I have seen God do for me and for my school, and hopefully in education in general.
Let the Kids be Kids
Since March, 2020, children of all ages were robbed of so many moments, milestones, experiences, and feelings. Parents, educators, and anyone with eyes to see what was happening to the kids experienced a reset. I have seen teachers, administrators, and the community at large emphasize the students’ happiness and mental well-being above all else. Let’s focus on letting the kids be happy and get some of these moments back. Let’s restore some of what has been lost. Are the test scores so important right now? Let’s give the kids the time and structure to socialize, play, and eat lunch with their friends.
Let's give them the chance to enjoy school and recess. Let’s give them the pleasure of simply being in the presence of their peers again. They will learn. They will take the tests, but let’s remember what is more important and let them be kids while they have the time to be kids.
Enjoy the Moments
While we are letting the kids be kids again, let’s enjoy these moments with them. When was the last time you let yourself see the world through a child’s eyes? They have the power to create toys, tools, and entire civilizations with their minds. They see the possibilities in the world where all we see are obstacles. I spend a few hours a day doing lunch duty. I am like a waitress, bringing the kids bottles of water (drinking fountains are closed), napkins, and sporks. I open packages of food designed for young children that no young child could ever actually open on their own. I love this time with the kids. I hear their conversations and laughter, see the sweet notes their parents place in their lunchboxes, and watch the joy they have in simply eating with their friends. I may even turn a blind eye when a kid cuts holes in a tortilla and holds it up to his face like a mask. It has been so rewarding and downright good for the soul to spend time with the kids as they get to enjoy the moments that were stolen from them for so long. These moments happen everywhere in a school. They are not only taking place at recess and lunch. They happen in all the classes, and we are taking the time to notice and enjoy them with the kids. These moments are important and magical.
Get in the Moments
Whether you are an administrator, a teacher, or even a parent, get in the moments with the kids. Let yourself view the world through their eyes and enjoy the splendor. I think we all have a new appreciation for letting the kids be kids and for enjoying the special moments with them. Nothing reminds you of the importance of special moments like losing them. As we begin to get them back, enjoy as much as you can. Take it all in and try not to take anything for granted. If 2020 showed me one thing, it was the simple things I took for granted in my everyday life. I spent some time at recess with the second grade students this week, and it was fantastic. They are obsessed with jumping rope. I held one end while a student held the other end and the kids waited in line for their turn to jump. They sang their song about Grandma’s name… “ Is it A, B, C, D…” The smiles on their faces as they anticipated the start and even as they jumped reminded me of the joy in the little things. These are kids who have lost about a year of their childhood as they knew it, and they see the magic in the time spent with their friends and a jump rope wrapped in red, white, and blue plastic pieces. The pure exhilarating joy from jumping rope with their friends! These are the simple moments happening all around the school every day. Find them, create them, get in them, and appreciate them.
Reflect and Focus on the Good
What are some good things you have seen come from this difficult school year?