Perspectives from the “Classroom”
In September when I first introduced myself to the parents and guardians of my students, I began by telling them I had been through it all. With four kids, four dogs, a daughter-in-law, a soon to be son-in-law and a husband, I have been able to adapt to anything that was brought forth to me. Little did I know that my ability to readily adapt to unforeseen circumstances would be so invaluable.
Through this time of uncertainty, I thank God for my twelve years of Catholic education. It has had a profound impact on my life. Through their teachings of faith, compassion and love I have been able to deal with life’s challenges which started with my mother’s death when I was nine months pregnant with my first child. As devastating as losing my only parent was, my deep faith gave me the courage to find hope in the future. It has enabled me to better guide my children and it continues to guide me to do the best I can for each one of my students. I try to instill this faith through patience, support and encouragement so each student can be their best. Now faced with COVID-19, instilling these values is more of a necessity.
In Pope Francis’ message during this year’s Easter Vigil homily, he so eloquently stated “How beautiful it is to be Christians who offer consolation, who bear the burdens of others and who offer encouragement: messengers of life in a time of death”. Prior to the pandemic, the news was filled with more bad news than good. Shortly after the quarantine began one started to see how good the world is. How wonderful it is to see people helping their neighbors and expressing support for those who have chosen to face the battle head on – our heroes. It is through faith, hope and love that we prevail.
In the classroom, I am in awe of how each of my students has risen to these challenges. They come to class, some lying on their bed, some eating breakfast and some with one eye open, but they come and they listen, and they learn. One of the things that puts a smile on my face is that some of my “quieter” students have been very vocal during class discussions since we started with Zoom.
As we all learn to navigate this new method of teaching and learning, we all work together. My lessons are taught in a different way but are not less productive then in the traditional classroom. From my perspective, this has been a great lesson learned for the students. If anything, it has better prepared them for college and the future. They have learned that there is more than one way to accomplish the same goal, there are many times when you need to be resilient and also there are many times in life that you have to think quick on your feet and come up with alternate solutions. They have had to be far more creative and open minded. I could not be prouder.
However, the greatest lesson they have learned - that God is always there and faith is strong, to always have hope, for hope will conquer, and to love one another as God loves us.
As I end my reflection, Pope Francis’ message “Whatever sadness may dwell in us, we will be strengthened in hope” resonates within me. My hope for when this pandemic alleviates, is that people will continue to be kind and engage in more charitable things.