Today, we introduce our  Perspectives from the “Classroom”  series whereby every Wednesday we will bring you a reflective piece from one of our St. Paul faculty members.

Mr. Wallace, Dean of Student Life, has taught for 42 years at St. Paul … the longest tenure of anyone in St. Paul’s history. Mr. Wallace teaches pre-calculus, calculus and physics and is annually recognized as an honored Catholic school teacher by our Senior students at the Archdiocesan Summa Scholars Ceremony.

We’re pleased to bring you Mr. Wallace’s reflection on his first two weeks in the “classroom” of unchartered distance learning at St. Paul.
Mr. Wallace
I always say we get the best kids in the world; kids who were brought up by caring parents who have imbued them with strong Christian values. They come to St. Paul and find a community that is equally caring and shares the same value system. We are so blessed!

Why are we surprised our transition to distance learning has gone so seamlessly? Our move to being an iPad school several years ago has insured that our kids using online learning tools like e-Campus, IXL, MathXL, Kahoots, Nearpod, Prezi, etc. has always been part of their experience. From a purely pedagogical perspective, we have not had to make radical changes. Kudos to Mr. Dupont and Mr. Cooper for leading us to this point.
The miracle to me is that the Zoom classroom has enabled us to still maintain much of the personal contact that makes being part of the educational experience at St. Paul so rewarding for both the students and teachers. From a classroom management perspective, some things have not changed at all. 

For example, in my larger classes in the regular classroom, I am extremely business-like usually reserving banter for before and after class. In smaller classes, I can interject humor occasionally throughout the period. Without my instruction, the students in my larger classes have muted themselves except to ask questions and to exchange greetings at the beginning and end of the period. In my small classes the kids tend to leave their microphones on and, for example, I can comment on what one of my first period students is having for breakfast and get an amusing response. The number of kids who bother to turn their microphones on at the end of the period to thank me and to wish me well is amazing to me.

Like I said, we get the best kids. I am grateful for them always, but in these days of isolation, I am especially grateful to be able to see them and to help them move their lives forward. The fact that we can continue to do education has provided meaning and purpose and the ability to interact with others to the days of both the students and the faculty. I believe we are all most grateful for that.

Though my theme here has been “Who’s surprised?”, I cannot express how proud I am to be part of a community that has faced dramatic challenges and truly risen to the occasion. The cancellation of winter tournaments, the postponement of Spring seasons and Matilda , and so much uncertainty about the future have left us all with a genuine sense of loss and grief. I sincerely hope that our community’s ability to move forward despite our grief and the challenges we face genuinely reflects our deep faith that God loves us with a love beyond our own comprehension.

God bless us all!