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  • Writer's pictureDionna Roberts

I Wish My Teacher Knew

At the beginning of the school year, I posed the question, "What is it that you wish I knew about you?". Many of the students responded with facts about siblings, pets, favorite subjects, and extracurricular activities. A few told me that they struggle with learning and understanding at times, while others lamented on loving school and opportunities to be challenged!

I'm grateful for knowing these things. I'm grateful that as our school days together grew, so did my knowledge of them. I held on to their notes and placed them on the inside of the classroom closet door. Every morning as I put my coat away, I would look at their words as a reminder: "These are the things they need for me to know. These are the things that are important to them."

What I didn't know is that 6 months from then, our world and individual lives would be forever changed.

Yesterday, April 14, 2020, I walked up the sidewalk to my school wearing a face mask, was given latex gloves upon entry, and set off on a specific, timed mission; to gather the essential items from my classroom that I would need to continue learning for my students from a distance. I had 1 hour to gather and go. I wish I would've known that I'd feel angry and that I'd spend the first 5 minutes just standing, looking. I wish I would've known that no matter how many books I gathered from my shelves to bring home with me, it would never be enough. I wish I would've known the level of sadness that would stir in my heart realizing that this school year as it were, is finished.

The face-to-face connection we once had has been reduced to the internet connection between devices (in some homes), phone calls, and letters through snail mail for the remainder of the year. I am being asked by my district to continue to provide learning opportunities for my students remotely for the next 6-8 weeks. These opportunities will NOT be an attempt to cover massive amounts of content from afar. I am approaching distance learning as opportunities to continue to show my students that what they want and need for me to know is more important than any standard or objective suggests they should know. We will take our time. We will navigate this detour in our journey through 4th grade learning patiently, together.

Next week, when all of this rolls out if I were to ask my students, "What is it that you wish I knew about you since the last time we were in class together?", I wonder what they would say.

A lone origami frog left on the desk on one of my students

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