April 16, 2020 In Uncategorized
Cracking Through a Scary Situation, With Rays of Hopeful Light
When asked about their transition into remote learning from the mandate put forth by the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Principal Grace Kelly from St. Sebastian School in Santa Paula, wrote in and had these words for us:
In the midst of a worldwide epidemic, St. Sebastian School is committed to upholding our commitment and mission to ensuring an intentional, wholesome and deep education for each of our students. As soon as word of our imminent closure came out, we hit the ground running, knowing that time was of the essence if we wished to smoothly transition our learning platforms to a distance format. Thus we quickly created classroom websites, loaded up Google classrooms, created student gmail, and began inundating ourselves with mounds and mounds of “how to” videos and educational resource lists.
As educators, we are very used to hard work and long hours. However, nothing could prepare us for the immense workload that was to come with this educational forum transition. If we thought we worked hard before, we were shocked to realize a whole new level. Yet with this new height of work load came an overwhelming depth of commitment from the teachers, strength of support and partnership from the parents, and excited dedication and hard work from the students. Mr. Rogers famously promoted the idea that in the darkest of times, we can light our world with hope by looking for the helpers; we look for those who give their time, the help of their hands, and their spirit of dedication, all cracking through a scary situation with rays of hopeful light.
Thus, we give the excess of our time and energy in order to tackle this beast of a new education system before us, and the teachers of today don’t even think twice about this necessity. Why? Why would anyone agree to a workload that can easily round up to 18 hours a day, has no easily spotted end in sight, has new developments with each turn you take, and where, with each door you crack open to peek at the resources on the other side, you open up a Pandora’s box of opportunities. Why? For the kids in our care who deserve an intentional educational experience strengthened by the resolve and commitment of dedicated teachers. Good teachers prove daily that they would give their lives for their students, and this time of pandemic had made this principle that much clearer.
Day in and day out, our teachers post fun questions in Google Forms format to gauge student understanding and attendance, they record lessons using Google sheets and Screencastify or the whiteboard app ShowMe. They host live lessons, story hour, or carpet time via Google meet. They set up virtual play dates on the weekend and monitor them in order to give the students the social connection time that they are sorely missing without recess or play time. They lead virtual PE challenges and make one on one calls to guide students who need help or reteaching. Educators of today not only find themselves teaching their students, but now, in order to ensure quality distance education for their students, they also give of their time to teach the parents how to help students navigate the online platforms. All this in order to ensure that our students continue to progress forward with the most minimal of stopgaps.
This path has not been easy, will continue to have its problems, and is most certainly a learning platform we do not wish to take on full time again, but we are excited for the nuggets of gold we are uncovering which will enhance our learning goals when we are blessed enough to be able to go back to our campus, our classrooms, our routines, and together!
Thank you for all that you, your staff and families are doing to ensure the success of our Catholic school students and future leaders!