Updated: May 3, 2020
As you are all aware, yesterday Governor Baker closed schools for the remainder of the school year. We are now not quite six weeks into this period of school closure. We knew that this was coming. And yet...the finality of it can feel hard. And sad. For those of us who are parents, or grandparents, it's hard and sad to see our own children or grandchildren lose the end of their school year. As teachers, it's hard and sad to know that we won't be returning to see our students in person, to do those things we do to celebrate our year together: Color day, step up day, graduation, prom, musical performances—the whole gamut of ways we and our students come together, to finish together, to say goodbye. Many of you have probably already written to your students and shared your feelings with them, but if you haven't, you might consider doing so. This is an email that came across my desk yesterday from a fifth grade teacher. I share it with you, first, because I think it is beautiful, and second, because I hope it might inspire words of your own.
Hi Everyone, I suppose by now some of you have heard the announcement from Governor Baker earlier today. Schools will be closed for the remainder of the year. I know that there must be a range of emotions. For me, although, let's face it, there are some very nice things about working from home, I am sad. Sad because we will not have this time together. Sad that, although we will do something, we will not do all of the end of year things we have done in the past. Sad that all of us are going through this difficult time. I certainly learned a lot as well. I have become much better with technology and, as I think about my plans for future years, it has given me time to think about what I most want to do. Given the announcement, it would be very easy for all of us to not be as motivated to continue this distance learning. I have had private conversations and emails with students to try and keep them motivated. During this time, I have learned tons about all of you as students; academically speaking, more than I might have learned had we been at school. I must say that I could not be more impressed with a handful of you who have consistently put forth a tremendous effort. Years and years from now, all of you will look back on this unusual time. Perhaps you will have children and grandchildren who might ask you about it. What will your story be? Will you talk about how great it was not to have to do any work? Will you talk about how you got to play video games for hours and hours everyday? Will you say that you binge watched show after show? Or will you say that this was the time you truly became a student and lifelong learner. I hope you will say that it was during this "break" you realized that even as a 5th grader, you had all of the tools and the strength to push yourself every day. You learned that although no one could force you to put forth your best effort, you did that because you knew you could. You learned that ultimately no one is more responsible for your own learning and development than yourself. You realized that as the days went on you became smarter, wiser and more proud of your accomplishments. You came to understand that no matter what obstacles got in your way, YOU were able to overcome them. Many years from now, you will realize that the lessons you learned about yourself during these months have been lifelong and have helped you become the person you are today. Thirty, forty, fifty years from now, what will your story be? You are writing it now. Know that M. XYXY and I are beyond motivated and eager to help you "find out how good you can be!"
"Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose." Please take care and stay well.