Let's Listen With Our Hearts
Updated: Nov 25, 2021
I'll admit it. I often get really good ideas at the very last minute, or even in the moment while I'm teaching. It makes sticking to a plan sometimes tricky. I guess if I had to give it a professional name I could say, I feel passionate about "emergent curriculum". Well, I had one of those moments on Friday, when I tried to wrap up a Zoom call. It was our last whole-group session of 21 online learners, before we return to campus next week where we'll get divided into three separate pods. One full day. One hybrid group. And one 100% distance learning group. I wanted to be sure to ask them how they were feeling about the upcoming change in order to give them closure before we made another big transition 3 1/2 weeks into the school year. They started sharing their feelings during our Zoom call and it became immediately clear that they had a lot to say. I took a deep breath. I was kind of caught off-guard and scrambled in the moment to find a way for everyone, not just the extroverted children, to share their feelings. I told them after our call I would create an activity on Seesaw, so they could all respond to a little survey about the upcoming transition back to campus.
In the past the children in my classes would respond to surveys with comments like, "I love everything. Don't change ANYTHING. I'm happy! Life is good!" So I wasn't prepared for the heart-wrenching vulnerability and honesty that came pouring from my 7 and 8 year old students through the screen. Some made videos and some wrote down their concerns. The messages touched my soul deeply and some even brought tears to my eyes! It was a profound moment realizing how important it is right now for educators to check-in with our student's hearts, and to listen and validate their feelings, big and small.
What I learned from my class yesterday is that many children are filled with uncertainty right now. They're exited and scared all at once. Their fears ranged from catching the Corona virus to not being a whole class anymore, and missing their friends dearly. And some are sad they're not able to return to campus at all while they watch classmates talk about their excitement and relief for going back. They're simultaneously excited to see friends and teachers but they're also in mourning for what they used to know, and what no longer exists.
This was an important reminder to me that we need to continue to check-in with our children emotionally, and validate their feelings, and reassure them that we are doing our very best to keep them safe, happy and secure.