Why do educators do what they do?
Why did they decide to go into a profession with low pay and a perceived stigma that pales in comparison to other career paths?
Why do they work countless hours after the school day and on weekends planning, grading, reflecting, and improving?
Why do they shun criticism from those who have never taught in a classroom or worked in a school?
For the love of kids, that’s why. These are just a few questions that have been answered in recent weeks. Educators show up and do what it takes because of their love and passion for working with kids. The calling is as simple as it is profound. It centers on the innate desire to make a difference in the lives of children by preparing them with the competencies to succeed in life. They are showing us what real innovation looks like while simultaneously tackling relentless challenges that pop up continuously. It’s like they are living in a game of “Whack a Mole” every day.
To try to sum up what they are doing through this pandemic, I posted this on Twitter recently.
Educators are flying the plane while building it. What we have learned is that a virus cannot stop their commitment to kids.
— Eric Sheninger (@E_Sheninger) April 4, 2020
Commitment is a gross understatement. What we are seeing is dedication at unprecedented levels. In light of the fact that there is no one right way and a lack of any training in remote learning pedagogy, teachers and administrators are figuring it out the best they can. It’s not about perfection, as that is a fallacy in anything related to education. What it is about is perseverance and empathy as families need learning in some form to continue so that their kids don’t fall behind. A powerful message has been sent. The eyes of the world are now open and finally seeing what those of us have known all along. Educators will always do what it takes for their students…period.
When it comes to education, business as usual is not the best course of action in a remote learning world. Here is my advice to educators in the trenches. Take a deep breath, gather resources, see what others are doing, don’t put too much pressure on yourself, and above all else do what’s best for kids. Continue to let your commitment, dedication, and, most importantly, your love for those who you serve, be a driving force to not only facilitate remote learning but also to overcome challenges as they arise. In closing, this quote attributed to numerous individuals sums up the point I am trying to make, “A good educator is like a candle that consumes itself while lighting the way for others.” A lot of candles are being consumed as of late, and that’s a good thing — all for the love of kids.
Be sure to check out all the posts in my #remotelearning series.