Celebrate our kids, appreciate our teachers
As you read this blog, you will understand that I am a “Mama Bear” when it comes to the amazing staff that I have the honor of leading. So many families have been supportive and positive during the last nine months, but society has a way of taking the good and only focusing on the negative. I am not foolish enough to think that one blog can change people immediately, but hopefully by being transparent you will understand my vulnerability and authenticity and the concern I have for the teaching profession and Grand Blanc Academy.
During this COVID time, we have heard so much negativity about kids falling behind, parents against teachers, and rants about kids not being in school. Let me flip the switch for a minute. What if, instead of focusing on kids falling academically and emotionally behind, we focus on what they are accomplishing? Grand Blanc Academy (GBA) has witnessed many students excelling with virtual school. These students were not nearly as successful in the “normal” school setting. I was in a conversation with a student that was going to be retained in fourth grade, but we put her in a split fourth/fifth classroom. She attends every day even if it is not her grade level day. Yesterday, she asked her teacher to stay on Zoom with her while she took her math test. She then asked if the teacher would ask me to join in order to tell me that she has been excelling and is trying to make the All A Honor Roll. She confessed to having just played around last year and got into drama. Now she is leading breakout sessions on Zoom to help students with their math lessons. Another student in middle school has committed to being in class every day! He turns in quality work on time and is a role model for his peers. During “normal” school, he was teased for being a resource room student. There are so many of these stories, I can go on forever! Do teachers have kids that struggle, yes, of course; however the kindergarten teacher is so excited because her students are way ahead of where they were last year with her reading instruction. All this with having to learn how to teach virtually.
Speaking of teachers, please do not talk about them not earning their pay and that taxes should not have to be paid because parents have to teach. My staff is so passionate about reaching each child. They are on the computer with their students, planning for instruction and answering parent calls, grading assignments for more than 10 hours each day. That is not an exaggeration! They still have the obligations to attend meetings with their mentors, attend professional development sessions and maintain their professional attitudes all while society is berating them!
We all want to be back to in person teaching and learning, right now, that is not possible. The reason schools remain closed is not because of the children, it is that we cannot staff the building if there is an outbreak. We must keep our teachers and staff safe as well. We do not want to have a substitute teacher come in the building when they have been in different buildings the day before they come to GBA.
So please, before you hop on to your favorite social media site and write how you think the educational system is failing children, look at the other side. We have transformed education in a few short months. Without this dedicated staff and the countless hours, they put into teaching, the leadership team putting plans together, and programing and distributing equipment so your child can have access to their education stop posting opinions and thank a teacher. They are tired. They are discouraged. They are lonely. Yet, they are dedicated to you and your family. They will put on a smile and encourage your child through rough times. They will sit and chat with you just to encourage you to hang in there because we know you are struggling too. Our staff loves our families! Please be encouraged and then pay it forward.