Two weeks ago we celebrated National Teacher Appreciation Week with an Instagram post expressing our gratitude to all teachers, but we feel the need to take our gratitude above and beyond the restraints of the Instagram caption limit and provide a bit more flavor. Because educators deserve that we go above and beyond for them.
We can all look back and remember a teacher who left a lasting impression on us. If not a teacher from school, then a teacher from another walk of life, such as a mentor or coach. Your ability to read this blog post is a direct result of someone who taught you how to read. In fact, almost everything that you know was taught to you by someone else. This makes us realize that even when we aren’t in the midst of a pandemic, we owe teachers more than we can ever repay them.
But we are in the middle of a pandemic, and teaching has only gotten more difficult. With a digital divide, the challenges of impacting children and effecting change are doubled. As Priya Parker of the New York Times put it in her recent podcast on How Teachers Are Fighting to Make Meaningful Connections With Students, “Teachers are in the transformation business. At the end of every school year, young people are supposed to leave changed. That’s a tall order — particularly now, when we’re forced to limit what we can do together and we’re teaching on Zoom.” This order is made even taller due to students feeling scared and restless, or at the very least confused about what is going on right now.
In spite of these challenges, Wellness in the Schools has seen many instances of educators going above and beyond; helping to put their students more at ease. Here are just a few examples that we would like to share…
- Ms. Costa of West Prep Academy has invited WITS Coach Errol to help bring fitness into the homes of students via Instagram Live. Every Friday at 1:30 pm, Coach Errol has led exercises with the students who tune in, and Ms. Costa, Magnet School Specialist of West Prep, welcomes her students with a big “hi” and offers them the chance to request the workout songs. See a snippet of this here. Ms. Costa has also identified families in need, for whom we are providing meals.
- Principal Grande of PS 56 has been using his guitar skills to connect with his students. Here is a video of him singing “Wonderwall” by Oasis for his students. And another video of Principal Grande performing “My Hero” by Foo Fighters.
- Teachers at KIPP schools in Camden, NJ volunteer to deliver meals to the families of students who could not pick them up on their own.
Wellness in the Schools educators – WITS Chefs and Coaches – fall right into the category of above and beyond. They face the same challenges and they miss the daily engaging and powerful interactions with their students. But they too are overcoming obstacles or helping others by
- Offering volunteer translation services for Spanish speaking New Yorkers
- Participating in volunteer feeding efforts in NY, NJ, FL, DC, and CA.
- Continuing to create video content and even holding live virtual classes for both children and families.
Thank you to all of the teachers going above and beyond. We cannot wait to thank you in person!