Now more than ever teachers are being called upon to support social-emotional learning in addition to meeting educational goals. In the face of the Covid-19 pandemic, educators are navigating new technology, new ways of teaching, and unimaginable student stressors all while trying to ‘keep it together’ for themselves and for their families. Teachers are Heroes. They’re showing up to provide comfort and familiarity during uncertain times. They are modeling public learning and adapting quickly to a rapidly evolving educational landscape.
One growing commitment of education has been to provide support for the whole student – that is their academic, physical and emotional well-being. Brick and mortar schools and classrooms are often a respite for children and a controlled learning environment for teachers to set the stage for their students. Now, teachers are tasked with observing and responding to students' needs while they are at home, while there are more distractions, and with the pressures presented by changing schedules and limited control of inequity to resources and support for all learners. What we’re witnessing is a rebirth of the classical commitment – where teachers nurture students and are focused on creating a positive learning environment, using any and all tools available. Teachers who are dedicated to the future and invested in the well-being of students first, and academic achievement second.
Teachers are providing levity and emotional support to students. They are monitoring behaviors and educational outcomes for parents and administrators. And, they are developing and adapting to digital learning tools and accepting the risks inherent in learning, trying new things and making mistakes publicly. Teachers today are making themselves available and gracefully shouldering the responsibility of being present for our young people. They deserve our patience, empathy and a round of applause for their efforts and their courage during this time. Student success and the future of our communities depends on our ability to recognize and support our local heroes, and teachers should know that they are valued and that their fearlessness is appreciated by all of us.