Archive for May 3rd, 2020

I bolt up the stairs, leftover salad from dinner the previous night in one hand, a container of yogurt in the other.

When I got to the top I started heading right, to my office, then, last minute I turn left, into my bedroom.

I need a break … away from work.

I take my seat in a chair by the window and immediately begin two things simultaneously, shovelling food into my mouth, and praying.

I have twenty minutes until my next online conference with a student and I am feeling a mixture of excitement and … fear.

We are at the end of week three of online education, and this student has managed to avoid having a conference with me.

This student is struggling … probably more than they know, themselves. I (and SO many other high school staff), have been knocking our heads together, knocking on the doors of heaven for help, a lifeline, anything that might indicate that this student is hearing us … hearing that our hearts are sincerely invested in them, their future.

So I pray and shovel, shovel and pray … all the while checking my school emails and messages.

… ah good, a message from that one who had gone MIA (missing in action) this week … they are doing okay … head above water

… a message about the one who needed math help (and is getting it, hallelujah)

… I better check on the math quiz of the other student … 7/9 … there is a god!

… I need to message my team and that teacher who had invested so much into the one I’m about to meet with … they would want to know I got a meeting … they would want to pray.

Wait, only five minutes left … shovel, pray.

… how did that student do on the online math midterm … he works so hard.

The meeting was scheduled for 12:10pm. As I sat at my desk, conference opened, I looked at the time (again) … 12:21 … I pray, feel my heart beating hard, fast … the beats like hard jabs in my chest, making my breath heavy, labored. I feel them … the tears that I am forcing away, as I try to maintain hope that the student will attend.

12:24 … maybe they forgot … that is what they will say happened … or they couldn’t find the conference … or …

12:28 … I hear a “hello” … the student arrived. The fact that they are eighteen minutes late immediately forgotten.

Online school is not for everyone. It is intimidating for some, outright fear-inducing for others. Not all teens, students are completely comfortable with technology. It is a predominantly self-driven method of learning … yet, there are so many students learn best with direction, physicality, relationship.

This glimpse into a small part of my day, as an Educational Assistant, may focus too much on … me. But, what I described is happening in the days of many EAs and teachers … I am not unique or alone.

What I really desire the focus to be on those students, who are struggling with the change to online schooling (those students who were struggling before, in a brick and mortar place of education.

I long for the focus to be directed to these students. The ones who don’t like staring into a screen, the ones who are struggling to understand what is expected (not just the assignments, but how to start, how to submit them), the ones who are lonely, sad, or who are so overwhelmed by this change from school in a building, with their friends, to sitting in their bedroom alone, staring at a screen, that they are frozen, immovable to action.

They are capable learners, they are simply more capable with someone at their side, providing the scaffolding of the so called simple things … taking note of due dates, asking for assistance, reminders, encouragement … relationship.

“Love is at the root at everything,
all learning, all relationships,
love or the lack of it.”

Fred Rogers


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