Yesterday, Governor Wolf of Pennsylvania announced that all schools, public and private, would be closed for the remainder of the school year. Social media was filled with sad posts from my friends who are teachers - posts about all the "lasts" the seniors would be missing, like prom and class play and graduation - and other posts about closure for all kids. My heart broke as I read their words, as they were posting the ideas I was already thinking. So many memories are about to be lost in these next few months.
Teaching is entirely about relationships. People who have solid relationships care about each other and about their respective feelings. Students and teachers need to be able to express their feelings of concern and love, and have closure before moving on to the next grade, the next school year, or the next teacher. I remember the last days of the school year for my 37 years in the classroom! I taught 10th grade, and the kids would move to the high school for 11th grade, so we would have a true physical separation when they left my classroom. After giving my closing remarks, I used to stand in front of the door, arms out, blocking entry and exit, and say, "Don't go! I love your class! Stay with me in 10th grade one more year! I don't want you to leave!" This antic always elicited both smiles and tears, but it was a good way to close for all of us. The kids knew that were loved, and I had the chance to express my concern and care for them. Many hugs were given on those last days of school; something that could not happen today.
So, what can you do as a teacher in these trying cyber circumstances? I encourage teachers to write a sort of "love letter" to their students to help with closure. The letter can be to an entire class, but make sure you mention every child. You may want to write a reflection of your time spent together up to the time of the pandemic, and then give them some advice and hope for the future. Let them know that each one will always be your student, no matter what the virus and pandemic have done to our world. I think your students will sleep better knowing they are loved by their teacher, even if it is from afar. From my experience, it is a letter they will cherish and reread often. Kids crave the attention and love of their teachers.
I give this advice because this is the action I would take. Kids need closure, and so do teachers. Who knows? Teachers just might receive some heartfelt responses, which would help their own minds and souls to be strong.
Best to all of you in self-quarantine. Stay safe, stay healthy.
Rittman Publishing, LLC ®
Please invite Grady Gets Glasses (and me) into your school. if you are not in the Pittsburgh area, we do virtual field trips with a group called Field Trip Zoom. www.Fieldtripzoom.com and a company called www.StreamableLearning.com GRADY GETS GLASSES was the winner of Best New Children's Book 2016 and 2018 (new edition) from The Authors' Zone.Grady also won a 2018 prestigious Moonbeam Award for Best Children's Book with Merchandise.
Visit Dede's web page for complete details on her award-winning book, STUDENT TEACHING: THE INSIDE SCOOP FROM A MASTER TEACHER. Many colleges have made the book required reading. Signed copies are available www.dederittman.com Dede is also a national speaker on The Three C's for Classroom success: Confidence, communication, and Creativity; Avoiding Teacher burnout; and many other inspirational topics.
I LOVE writing. And I love writing children's books- my newest passion. Although it will be a ton of work, I am looking forward to selling my books. Since I was a secondary teacher, I know that I have much to learn about elementary students, and I will have to follow my own advice and be my genuine self. However, I also know that I am passionate about helping kids who have to wear glasses, and that GRADY GETS GLASSES sends a positive message. I am willing to work hard and do all the things that also made me a successful teacher for 37 years. I remain inspired!
Elementary teachers in Western Pennsylvania and beyond - I am willing to come into your classroom in person or as a virtual field trip through a group called Field Trip Zoom. Check them out! http://www.fieldtripzoom.com/
Teacher friends- let me know if you want me to read GRADY GETS GLASSES at your school. I am willing to come in to discuss the creative writing process, why writing is important, and personal fulfillment through writing, along with reading my book. I would appreciate the exposure, and I would make signed copies available for purchase in your classrooms following the reading. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org The website www.gradygetsglasses.com now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!
Please like Dede's new page Grady Gets Glasses for updates about her children's book. https://www.facebook.com/gradygetsglasses?ref=hl
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