Hidden Heroes

We are all very aware of our first responders and medical personnel being heroes during COVID-19. And, we are all so very grateful. 

I suspect few people think of educators as heroes during COVID-19. We prepare remote lessons, record ourselves teaching, and learn new software to teach online. We create worksheets, find books to send to our families, compile work packets, track our virtual contacts, and make sure all our teaching duties are covered from afar. We spend hours each day preparing for and connecting to children and families who are vulnerable and sometimes really struggling with life-as-we-know-it-now. 

I belong to/ participate in many different online groups for educators. I’m rubbing virtual elbows with hundreds of teachers across the US on a daily/nightly basis via Facebook and Twitter. These are often parents of school age kids who not only support their own children at home, but who support dozens, even hundreds of kids that they normally would engage in their classrooms. Our “classrooms” are our computers in our kitchens, our laptops in our living rooms, and our smart phones in our home office spaces. Our lessons are on Facebook, Zoom, and Google Meeting. Some of us, like me, know our kids don’t have internet. So, we put together personalized packets each week to be picked up or delivered to families.

Yes, it’s all about “distance learning.” 

Actually, it’s about a lot more than that.

Teachers don’t triage based on medical needs. We don’t struggle with overflowing waiting rooms and busy ERs. We don’t need to change gowns and gloves and masks in our work (unless we’re at our schools helping with deep cleaning.) But every single day, and sometimes even into the night, we find ourselves giving both spiritual and emotional first aid/care to children, as well as moms, dads, and grandparents. 

We also care for each other. We’ve typically never met… and never will. We might teach in similar situations… or not. We might live in a place where thousands and tens of thousands are sick with COVID-19. Or, we might, like me, be physically in a remote area in a rural state where distance is helpful in slowing the disease’s spread. Regardless, across the invisible linkages of the internet, we choose to be present to each other in both practical and profound ways. It’s been powerful. 

I know many who read this blog are already keeping our first responders and our medical community in prayer. You’re doing what you can while you hunker down and, probably, work from your own home. You might even be parenting, which now includes overseeing the distance learning we educators create, so that your own children have the structure and security of “school,” even when it is at your own kitchen table. 

Let me invite you to add educators… and all school personnel… to your prayer list. If you’re a parent with school age kids, or a grandparent of school age kids, let me invite you to send your kids’ teachers a note of support and gratitude during this time. Our country has 3.7 million teachers (and that number doesn’t even include teachers at the post-secondary level!)  

That’s a lot of hidden heroes, isn’t it?