The Silver Lining
Recently I had the opportunity to listen to a few principals expound on what’s happening in their buildings. The schedule for our students is about to change again, and that brings new challenges. Depending on how the vaccine and COVID proceed, this is hopefully the last change of its kind for the year. The principals shared their excitement about having all their students back in school at the same time. I know the teachers share this excitement as well.
The story from that meeting upon which I want to focus is not schedule-related though. It surrounds how one person was a little late to the meeting because she had to call the police to one of her students’ houses. That student messaged his teacher from home that he did not feel safe.
Pause for a moment and think of all the scary ramifications brought forth by that situation. There are several. I have no idea of the context so my mind can spin in all ways – and all of them are negative.
Now let’s focus on the silver lining here. In a year when it has been doubly difficult to build relationships with students, when they have been home learning on screens instead of at school, this teacher has done it. She connected with that child in such a profound way that that student knew he could reach out to her. He felt safe with her and knew he could trust her to help.
I am quite impressed by this teacher’s skills in the midst of so many challenges.
Principals are pulled in so many different directions. They were ready to talk with me about one thing, but reacting to reality takes up so much mental space that it is difficult to be proactive. Our CAST program (Communities and Schools Together) aims to alleviate some of the burden on principals who are serving as curriculum specialists, HR representatives, nurses, community liaisons and more. I’m grateful to the Kirkpatrick Foundation who informed us this week that they will support our work to expand this program in the near future.
It won’t stop those kinds of calls from happening, but hopefully it will help lift some burdens from staff so that they can continue to build those strong relationships with students, and keep them as safe as we can.
April 1, 2021