by Betty J. Sternberg
Since March 2020, our brave-heart teachers have, out of necessity, single-handedly altered how they instruct their students. They have made changes to accommodate scheduling vagaries, sometimes teaching one group of children one week in their classrooms and then teaching that group solely online the following week. Sometimes they have been confronted with teaching some children in person, while at the same time teaching others online. They have done this while always keeping in the forefront how best to create a safe and loving learning environment for each of the students in their care.
I know this first-hand because I direct and interact with a group of amazing teacher leaders from schools throughout Connecticut who meet on their own time regularly — virtually now — to share their stories of resilience and swap techniques they have tried with their students to make learning viable and exciting.
As they return this January to teaching still under the cloud of COVID-19, my wishes for them and the children they teach in 2021 revolve around feelings and the culture they and their students share. The culture their students experience in their classrooms as a result of the environment their teachers set up, often reflects the environment of the school and the district in which teachers interact with their colleagues – an environment enabled by all the adults in the building and district.