Saturday, August 22, 2020

Remote Teaching Journey -- More Realities

image via Unsplash

We had our virtual Meet the Teacher this past Thursday. 

On the one hand, having a new group of children on the screen in front of me gave all of the impossibly overwhelming work of the week up to that point a fresh meaning and urgency. It jazzed me up and got me excited.

On the other hand, the reality that I will not simply be teaching 28 children in the desks in front of me in my classroom, but rather 28 FAMILIES that I may or may not be able to see off-screen, but who are possibly-sometimes or definitely-always listening in to every word I say, took my breath away with the awesome responsibility for the careful choice of every word and the necessity of my absolute adherence to the highest level of professionalism every minute of screen time every single day. Yikes! When I make mistakes this year, they will be very public mistakes. And that's humbling (and frightening), to say the least.

At the same time, what an amazing opportunity to teach whole families, rather than just the children! I'm not going to lie -- I've been a little nervous about teaching our 5th grade standards about the history of the Western Hemisphere and about the forms of government.  How much of the truth of our history of brutal colonialism could or should 10 year-olds learn? How, in light of the crumbling of our country's democratic ideals in the past four (or four hundred) years, could I instill in 10 year-olds a belief in the values of democracy, when my own beliefs have been so shaken? 

How? I listened to the recent speeches by Barack and Michelle Obama, and Kamala Harris (glad I know how to pronounce her name correctly!!) and Joe Biden. I was reminded not to give up on the values of our democracy, and I was inspired to help a generation that won't vote for another several election cycles begin to understand the role of citizens taking action to make change in shaping our democracy and our country into something we can all be proud of, and that serves all citizens equally. Because I'll be teaching the families, and not just the children, maybe I can remind the parents what our country can be again if we, the adults in the room, take our civic responsibility seriously. 

What a year!


  1. What a year indeed! You, Mary Lee, of all people, are the perfect person for this enormously humbling challenge. I send you all of my best wishes as you embark on this adventure. :)

  2. I love how you take the challenge of not just what is before you, but are also challenged by what is connected to your responsibilities as well. I can only hope such verve and joy continue with you. May you have an absolutely magical year.


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