Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Teacher Encouragement Thread!

 

I am a teacher, and I went back to work this week. I just finished five days of pre-planning, and our students come back on Monday, most in person.

Some school districts are going back in person (maybe with an option for online), some are going back all online, some are waiting. I feel safe saying the vast majority of teachers are at least somewhat concerned, and some are extremely stressed. Some are even leaving the profession.

There’s a lot of negativity going on right now regarding school returning, especially online. I thought this thread could be the opposite, a place of encouragement for all the teachers of Ricochet – so please, share an encouraging word, quote, Bible verse, story, etc. below. I know I and the other teachers here would appreciate it.

I’ll start:

‪I lift my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. | Psalms 121:1-2 CSB‬

Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses every thought, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. | Philippians‬ ‭4:6-7‬ ‭

You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You. | Isaiah‬ ‭26:3‬ ‭

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  1. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    If I was going back to the classroom, I would open a window. Is that even possible in a modern school? I have not ever been in a school built this century. I wish you a pleasant and successful year! 

    • #1
    • July 31, 2020, at 7:44 PM PDT
    • 7 likes
  2. KirkianWanderer Coolidge

    My mom is an elementary school teacher, so I (vicariously) see how hard this all is. And I’m a college student, so we are learning to adjust to a new pattern of education as well (though thankfully it’s all in person). Best of luck in the new school year! 

    • #2
    • July 31, 2020, at 8:09 PM PDT
    • 6 likes
  3. Jules PA Member

    I’m a teacher. I want to go back face to face. Our entire metro area of public schools is virtual through mid September, November, and even some until January.

    I’m just happy a decision has been made that gives uninterrupted instruction through November, and I can get ready now. 

    I, and my colleagues will do our best to teach kids. 

     

    • #3
    • July 31, 2020, at 8:42 PM PDT
    • 14 likes
  4. Jules PA Member

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):

    If I was going back to the classroom, I would open a window. Is that even possible in a modern school? I have not ever been in a school built this century. I wish you a pleasant and successful year!

    Not really. All our buildings are designed for AC and building wide air circulation. windows are limited, open with a lever like a tepee, about 6 inches.

    • #4
    • July 31, 2020, at 8:49 PM PDT
    • 3 likes
  5. Steve C. Member
    Encouragement
    • #5
    • July 31, 2020, at 9:33 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  6. JosePluma Thatcher

    Jules PA (View Comment):
    and even some until January.

    January? Even after the pandemic ends on November 4th?

    • #6
    • July 31, 2020, at 9:51 PM PDT
    • 10 likes
  7. Hammer, The Member

    We are homeschooling our kids this fall. They are at a Christian school and really need to be back, but I can’t stand the thought of sending them back under the conditions imposed by our state, if they’re even allowed at all. Masks, distancing, OCD hygiene stuff, no PE or music or art. What they are imposing on our kids is criminal.

    I’ve been keeping in touch with the superintendent, though, and am really hoping for a massive global wake-up sooner rather than later.

    • #7
    • July 31, 2020, at 11:23 PM PDT
    • 11 likes
  8. Samuel Block Support

    I hope all teachers teach the heck out of school! 

    • #8
    • August 1, 2020, at 12:13 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  9. Lois Lane Coolidge

    I am not allowed to go back into a classroom, which I would Happily do, if I could.

    I wish all teachers who are younger than fifty could be given statistics that would show them they do not have to be so full of fear. This is not to say that I think they are crazy. I just think some of them are fearful who do not need to be fearful. To be in such fear all the time is a horrible way to live, and I don’t think what we know now about Covid makes a lot of that fear warranted.

    Onto positives….

    Teaching is a vocation, but it is also a privilege to help kids learn. I never knew I could love a job—or miss a job—so much.

    I’m sure that many, many, many teachers—including you— will do the absolute best they can to bring some sense of joy back into their classrooms.

    I wish the best for all involved as I am certain online learning is inferior.

    • #9
    • August 1, 2020, at 4:04 AM PDT
    • 12 likes
  10. Jules PA Member

    JosePluma (View Comment):

    Jules PA (View Comment):
    and even some until January.

    January? Even after the pandemic ends on November 4th?

    I know. Seems a little over-reactive. 

    • #10
    • August 1, 2020, at 6:29 AM PDT
    • Like
  11. Jules PA Member

    Hammer, The (View Comment):
    no PE or music or art.

    So sad. The things that bring joy and creativity are banned. 

    I’m so grateful in all the planning, my PA school district kept the offerings the same, both f2f and online. 

    My sis is home schooling a K and a grade 3 child because of all the NY mandates. 

    • #11
    • August 1, 2020, at 6:32 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  12. Jules PA Member

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    I wish the best for all involved as I am certain online learning is inferior.

    I disagree with the characterization of inferior. I’d go with new, less explored, challenging, and a host of other things that open online learning as a mode of learning. 

    That said, just taking f2f teaching and pushing it to a video platform and learning management platform is inferior. 

    It is my hope to get MORE 1-1 time and small group instruction and feedback this fall. 

    I want f2f, but a well-planned virtual delivery is not the end of the world. The same way SARSCoV2 is not the end of the world. 

     

    • #12
    • August 1, 2020, at 6:39 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  13. Jules PA Member

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    I’m sure that many, many, many teachers—including you— will do the absolute best they can to bring some sense of joy back into their classrooms.

    I believe more teachers across this country do their absolute best than is projected in stories and charicatures. 

    That does not deny that our work isn’t co-opted by interference from misdirected do-gooders and distorted agendas.

    I’ve been teaching 34 years and my best efforts have almost always been obstructed by external forces outside of my control. 

     

    • #13
    • August 1, 2020, at 6:48 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  14. Lois Lane Coolidge

    Jules PA (View Comment):

    Lois Lane (View Comment):
    I wish the best for all involved as I am certain online learning is inferior.

    I disagree with the characterization of inferior. I’d go with new, less explored, challenging, and a host of other things that open online learning as a mode of learning.

    That said, just taking f2f teaching and pushing it to a video platform and learning management platform is inferior.

    It is my hope to get MORE 1-1 time and small group instruction and feedback this fall.

    I want f2f, but a well-planned virtual delivery is not the end of the world. The same way SARSCoV2 is not the end of the world.

    I think there are ways to do online well, but I have yet to encounter “as good” as either a teacher or student per the type of class I teach…. This could be a deficit on my part, though I keep trying to up my game. Hats off to those who have found the right key to unlock the medium.

    I was part of a summer program at Harvard that was moved to Zoom, as Harvard closed their campus. I felt that the professors did the best they could, but it just didn’t click with me at all. It seemed to me if Harvard couldn’t create a sense of intimacy with a small group of highly motivated adults—less than 30–a lot of this distance learning feels distant for others as well. I dunno. That was just my experience.

    I also know for *some* kids, there are aspects that are preferable.

    To be positive, there are parts of my online course that I will actually retain and integrate into the traditional Classroom model when schools are back to normal. I mean… there are features that kids have found useful that I did not realize they would find as useful as they are, so it’s a gift to have been forced to learn how to pick up some of those tools….

    • #14
    • August 1, 2020, at 6:55 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  15. Jules PA Member

    Teachers learn and improve just like anyone else.

    I agree some things are difficult, and 100% online forever is bad, BUT maybe some things are successful virtual, and others not. I can see a blended pattern emerging.

    At this point, I’m just trying to make the best of this challenge, and expand on what works, and toss what doesn’t. 

    I think that every good teacher is doing that. But there is no magic wand to adapt teachers, students and parents to what is going on.

    I’ll reiterate, I’m 55+ and I want to go back f2f. A little scared, but willing. Our community was divided, and we’ll revisit the f2f in October.

    • #15
    • August 1, 2020, at 7:04 AM PDT
    • 5 likes
  16. Jules PA Member

    Allie Hahn: @alliehahn, I love this.

    You will keep the mind that is dependent on You in perfect peace, for it is trusting in You. | Isaiah‬ ‭26:3‬

    • #16
    • August 1, 2020, at 7:05 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  17. Aaron Miller Member
    Aaron Miller Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    I will help a college teacher set up the next semester this weekend. She’s a retirement-age lecturer, so this is driving her nuts. 

    The methodology of online instruction is seldom in the hands of actual teachers. But the best system I’ve seen so far emphasizes interaction via a class forum similar to Ricochet conversations. Students get more out of it if they are not merely consuming content but interacting and encouraged to offer thoughts, questions, or resources. 

    It’s a shame John Walker isn’t still with Ricochet, considering he helped develop AutoDesk.

    • #17
    • August 1, 2020, at 7:15 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  18. Hoyacon Member

    Jules PA (View Comment):

    Teachers learn and improve just like anyone else.

    I agree some things are difficult, and 100% online forever is bad, BUT maybe some things are successful virtual, and others not. I can see a blended pattern emerging.

    At this point, I’m just trying to make the best of this challenge, and expand on what works, and toss what doesn’t.

    I think that every good teacher is doing that. But there is no magic wand to adapt teachers, students and parents to what is going on.

    I’ll reiterate, I’m 55+ and I want to go back f2f. A little scared, but willing. Our community was divided, and we’ll revisit the f2f in October.

    Very well said.

    Near me, in one of the richest counties in the country, some teachers are offering their services as (paid) tutors while also conducting classes online. That does not strike me as a ringing endorsement of online learning, although maybe I’m unaware of the ins and outs of the whole thing.

    In keeping with the thread, we need to recognize just how many good teachers there are out there, and not be swayed by the unfortunate politicization of the teaching establishment.

    • #18
    • August 1, 2020, at 7:33 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
    • This comment has been edited.
  19. Lois Lane Coolidge

    Aaron Miller (View Comment):

    I will help a college teacher set up the next semester this weekend. She’s a retirement-age lecturer, so this is driving her nuts.

    The methodology of online instruction is seldom in the hands of actual teachers. But the best system I’ve seen so far emphasizes interaction via a class forum similar to Ricochet conversations. Students get more out of it if they are not merely consuming content but interacting and encouraged to offer thoughts, questions, or resources.

    It’s a shame John Walker isn’t still with Ricochet, considering he helped develop AutoDesk.

    I agree entirely about interaction. I think the thing I haven’t figured out is how to create the trust required for people to truly speak their minds in online forums. I’m able to do this in person so that the kid wearing the Beto shirt can inevitably have a good, civil discussion with the guy in a MAGA hat about different interpretations of history that inform the world today. It’s a beautiful thing to facilitate, and I think that fostering of free speech is very, very important today. 

    @julespa, you’re right. Teachers are constantly learning. It’s one of the things I like the most about teaching. Again, we are privileged to have such an awesomely fun job.

    • #19
    • August 1, 2020, at 7:37 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  20. DonG (skeptic) Coolidge

    Jules PA (View Comment):

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):

    If I was going back to the classroom, I would open a window. Is that even possible in a modern school? I have not ever been in a school built this century. I wish you a pleasant and successful year!

    Not really. All our buildings are designed for AC and building wide air circulation. windows are limited, open with a lever like a tepee, about 6 inches.

    I am big fan of UV-C light for sanitation. If I was a teacher I would pester my union to advocate for UV sanitation to be added to HVAC systems. A big commercial setup costs thousands, but idea of killing cold and flu viruses 24×7 is very appealing. My brother runs a daycare and they use such a system, because staying healthy is very, very important to his business and physical survival (cancer survivor). My daughter is a 2nd-year school teacher (go 6th grade!) and I bought her a personal (large room) air sanitizer with UV-C. Colds and flus will be with us forever and a good air sanitizer is a smart investment.

    • #20
    • August 1, 2020, at 7:39 AM PDT
    • 2 likes
  21. Jules PA Member

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):

    Jules PA (View Comment):

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):

    If I was going back to the classroom, I would open a window. Is that even possible in a modern school? I have not ever been in a school built this century. I wish you a pleasant and successful year!

    Not really. All our buildings are designed for AC and building wide air circulation. windows are limited, open with a lever like a tepee, about 6 inches.

    I am big fan of UV-C light for sanitation. If I was a teacher I would pester my union to advocate for UV sanitation to be added to HVAC systems. A big commercial setup costs thousands, but idea of killing cold and flu viruses 24×7 is very appealing. My brother runs a daycare and they use such a system, because staying healthy is very, very important to his business and physical survival (cancer survivor). My daughter is a 2nd-year school teacher (go 6th grade!) and I bought her a personal (large room) air sanitizer with UV-C. Colds and flus will be with us forever and a good air sanitizer is a smart investment.

    I wish. 

    • #21
    • August 1, 2020, at 8:01 AM PDT
    • 1 like
  22. Mendel Member
    Mendel Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Thank you for this thread.

    My wife is a public high school teacher here in Germany. They started in-person classes in early May (on a hybrid system with 50% in-person) and the improvement in her professional satisfaction and well-being was immediate, even with the major hurdles they originally faced.

    Her biggest advice to teachers going back is to have patience but not resignation. When the schools first re-opened here, the list of precautions and safety rules was so long that teachers were lucky if they got 1 hour of effective class time in between jumping all of the hurdles – many of which were obviously useless and contradictory. They pushed back politely but firmly, and over the course of a month or so managed to get the hygiene rules pared down to a manageable (and generally less absurd) scale.

    In any case, there isn’t a single teacher at her school who isn’t happier being present in person than sitting at home – even the teachers who have some health risks (the high-risk teachers are still home and doing only remote teaching).

    • #22
    • August 1, 2020, at 8:15 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  23. Mendel Member
    Mendel Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    DonG (skeptic) (View Comment):

    If I was going back to the classroom, I would open a window. Is that even possible in a modern school? I have not ever been in a school built this century. I wish you a pleasant and successful year!

    For environmental/resource reasons, Germans have long poo-pooed A/C (despite some regions that get pretty hot in the summer), so schools are almost never built with A/C systems. The upshot is that nearly all schools here are equipped with large windows that can be opened wide, which has been required since re-opening after corona.

    Finally, a situation in which Germans’ neurotic obsession with reducing energy consumption has led to a sensible outcome.

    • #23
    • August 1, 2020, at 8:18 AM PDT
    • 6 likes
  24. Mendel Member
    Mendel Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Jules PA (View Comment):
    It is my hope to get MORE 1-1 time and small group instruction and feedback this fall. 

    This was an unexpected positive for my wife under the 50% hybrid system – smaller class sizes and more 1-one-1 time in the classroom.

    Plus, when the schools re-opened here in May everything was still so chaotic that the school boards removed all curriculum requirements and just told teachers to teach whatever they found most appropriate using their best judgment. Not surprisingly, she and most of her colleagues feel their classes have been more effective (not to mention more enjoyable) since being freed from central curriculum requirements.

    • #24
    • August 1, 2020, at 8:24 AM PDT
    • 7 likes
  25. OldPhil Coolidge

    A pandemic hero, for sure! And no, I’m not being sarcastic.

    • #25
    • August 1, 2020, at 8:24 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  26. EHerring Coolidge

    I believe in full, 5 day, face to face instructions and appreciate any teacher willing to do that. 

    If you are unfortunate enough to be forced to homeschool kids when you didn’t want to out of fear you wouldn’t be up to the task, order the Abeka complete package with both teacher and student books. We used their grammar and math products to supplement our kids because military life didn’t always place us where the best schools are. 

    My grandkids will be two days in school and three days doing work at home and online…with both sets of grandparents, at least for September. We split the home days, they take mornings and bring them to us for the afternoon. Frankly, if kids are going to be in school for two days, what is the point of not doing all five?

    Good luck and best wishes to the teachers. Don’t live in fear. You will be with the group least likely to infect you.

    • #26
    • August 1, 2020, at 8:59 AM PDT
    • 4 likes
  27. Western Chauvinist Member
    Western Chauvinist Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Time to consider a paradigm shift:

    https://amgreatness.com/2020/07/31/blowing-up-the-school-house/

    I don’t think this California teacher has all the answers, but I do believe you’ll have to reconsider how you’re doing teaching, because, frankly, I believe public education’s day’s are numbered as it currently stands. 

    You do important work that is time-critical for these kids. They don’t get very many chances at grade-level learning. Keep up the good work and grab the opportunities for new methods. This is a chance to get creative. 

    • #27
    • August 1, 2020, at 9:43 AM PDT
    • 3 likes
  28. Basil Fawlty Member
    Basil Fawlty Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Hoyacon (View Comment):
    In keeping with the thread, we need to recognize just how many good teachers there are out there, and not be swayed by the unfortunate politicization of the teaching establishment.

    You are too kind.

    • #28
    • August 1, 2020, at 4:15 PM PDT
    • Like
  29. danys Thatcher
    danys Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    My private high school planned to start with the hybrid model but Gov Newsom’s decree has us starting remotely. I meet my students mid August.

    Right now my anxiety level is unusually high. I’m teaching courses I haven’t taught in a few years & my old textbooks are no longer available. We’re also moving to Canvas from google classroom this year. But that is ok; I’m used to learning new systems and changing textbooks. 

    Meeting my students online is not ok. How do I get to know them when I can’t see them well enough to read body language & facial expressions? How do I build a relationship based on trust? How do I recognize a student is struggling emotionally before it becomes a huge problem? I hate teaching from one spot; I like to roam around the classroom writing on the white boards and asking students questions (and checking that they’re not surreptitiously texting friends). 

    Fortunately, I have a few students I’ve taught before and students whose older siblings I taught. Those students know me & I know them. 

    I ran into a former student who’s in college now. Remote learning has been hard for her. I encouraged her. We talked about my concerns and she reminded me to do what I always do: be transparent, invite my students to give feedback, and listen to their concerns. Overall, students at my school are very perceptive and can be very helpful. She thinks I’ll be fine. 

     

    • #29
    • August 1, 2020, at 4:27 PM PDT
    • 4 likes
  30. danys Thatcher
    danys Joined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    Western Chauvinist (View Comment):

    Time to consider a paradigm shift:

    https://amgreatness.com/2020/07/31/blowing-up-the-school-house/

    I don’t think this California teacher has all the answers, but I do believe you’ll have to reconsider how you’re doing teaching, because, frankly, I believe public education’s day’s are numbered as it currently stands.

    You do important work that is time-critical for these kids. They don’t get very many chances at grade-level learning. Keep up the good work and grab the opportunities for new methods. This is a chance to get creative.

    Interesting article. I’ve done several webinars this summer to learn how to teach better online. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what’s really important, how to engage students’ interest, and encourage their best work. 

    • #30
    • August 1, 2020, at 4:31 PM PDT
    • 3 likes