Welcome back, everyone! Here are this week’s announcements:
1.It’s the first day of school in Howard County and even though it seems silly to take First Day of School pictures when students won’t be leaving the house, the attention paid to the ritual is probably worth the effort. We weren’t awfully good at taking such photos through the years but in many families they mark the beginning of each year’s learning and growth. We need to reassure our kids right now that we have confidence that this year, as difficult and different as it is, will bring new learning and growth for them. If taking a picture is a part of your family’s tradition, don’t skip it.
2. Parents: you are doing amazing things to support your kids and keep your family life afloat during the pandemic. It is scary and frustrating and exhausting. Hang in there. It’s easy to want to blame someone but may I suggest that you not take it out on teachers? Remember that the common enemy is coronavirus, not the humans who are trying their best to make distance learning work and meet the educational and emotional needs of their students.
3. Teachers: you, too, are doing amazing things. I happen to have a teacher at my house so I have a pretty clear view of the experience. It’s scary and frustrating and exhausting for you, too. I know that many teachers feel frustrated in situations where students don’t turn cameras on. For teachers that lack of connection is overwhelming. Hang in there. There are many different reasons the students can’t appear (or don’t feel comfortable appearing) on video and deserve empathy and respect.
4. Students: be yourself. Believe in yourself. These are truly difficult times. Your teachers will be reaching out to you, trying to make connections. Try to meet them half way. Find topics you care about and want to pursue. Be curious. Ask for help when you need it. No matter what grade you are in, this is an important time in your life. No matter what you may hear to the contrary, this is real school. Your teachers care about you.
5. Community members: anything we can do to support the youngest in our community is valuable. The outpouring of donations for food, school supplies, even providing desks for students have shown a beautiful and caring side of Howard County. It would be easy to fall back after the big push to get school going. Now the work truly begins. Even if you don’t have children in school there will be ways you can help, even if it’s as simple as listening to a stressed-out teacher or parent, or offering kind words on social media. Look for opportunities to pitch in.
This concludes this week’s announcements. Make sure you eat a healthy breakfast, drink plenty of fluids, and get outside/move your body as much as you are able. It might be good to take a dance break along with this inspirational back-to-school video from Music Teacher Joshua Konick of Oakland Mills Middle School.
Take the time to watch and listen. It’ll definitely give you that excited, first day feeling.