Much has been written, researched, and discussed regarding the return to school this Fall during the pandemic. I see both sides of the coin, and with my significant health issues, I am happy that I am retired from teaching. However, I had a few conversations the past few weeks with former students and with a young man who is going to the 11th grade. Hands down, their answers were to return to school.
A very nice young man works as a cashier at my local pharmacy. I asked him about his thoughts on returning to school. The conversation went like this:
"Miss Rittman, I want to go back."
"Why? Do you miss your friends?"
"I do, but it's so much more than that. (silence) I didn't learn anything during online learning. I'm the kind of kid that needs the teacher in person to learn. I'm afraid if we go online again, I won't learn anything again. I need to be in school."
"That's quite interesting. Lots of kids are like you, and they want to learn in person. I know this from teaching 35 years in your school building!"
"I like my teachers, and I know this about myself - I do so much better in school."
"I believe that teaching is entirely about relationships with students, and that the most learning happens when the teacher and student know each other. At least when the pandemic happened in March, the teachers and students all knew each other. It would be more difficult trying to teach and learn when you don't know each other, I think. What do you think?"
"I agree. I don't want to start out the year trying to know someone on the computer."
All this from the mouth of an 11th grader. I understand his point of view - I always did better in school with a teacher than attempting to learn on my own.
I can't make any predictions about what will happen, but I know that kids are sad. They miss their friends and their teachers. They want what we all want - a sense of normalcy. I hope that if schools open, they will do so safely for all concerned. As much as I like and enjoy technology, I still think in person learning is best. And I know that solid relationships are important to learning.
I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens.
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!
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 email@example.com The website www.gradygetsglasses.com now has plush Grady bunnies for sale!
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