By: Nayelle Williams, Secondary English Education Major
This past month has been an unprecedented time filled with uncertainty. I have many thoughts and feelings surrounding this pandemic. Firstly, I am disheartened that my student teaching experience has come to a halt. Since schools have been closed, I have not been able to teach in the physical classroom—doing what I love. I truly miss my students and their enthusiasm about life and learning. Although my teaching experience has been cut short, I can honestly say that I learned so much from my cooperating teacher and students alike. I will cherish the time I had with them and look forward to using their influence in my future instruction and work as an educator.
Secondly, this pandemic has opened my eyes to the social justice issues surrounding education. For instance, I know that technology in the classroom has pros and cons. While it is essential and effective during this pandemic, it also has been a burden for students who do not have access to it at home. Blatantly, it has made the virtual classroom difficult because these students cannot attend Zoom meetings or submit their assignments online. Unfortunately, my host school is located in an area where many students do not have access to technology in their homes. However, my school has found innovative ways to ensure that students are still able to access their work. For instance, they have printed copies of work packets for families to physically pick up at the school. And, they have made the assignments available online. I admire their effort to adapt and adjust accordingly, meeting the needs of the students they serve. On a similar note, many students rely on the school to be their “home” away from home—a safe environment where they can be fed academically and physically. Without schools being open, many students are missing nutritious meals. I commend the local schools and restaurants that are opening their doors and still providing meals for families in need.
Lastly, this pandemic has forced me to slow down and pay more attention to the things that matter. Although I knew that life is short and change is inevitable, I am seeing it firsthand. I am learning to adjust to my new normal and not be consumed by negativity. I am using this time to better myself and take time to rest. I am not taking life for granted. And even though it may be hard, I urge you to do the same.