Relationships Go Virtual

The classroom buzzes with project-based learning as the teacher walks around the room checking on progress, answering questions, and keeping students on task. For me, the real reason this approach to teaching works so well is it also allows relationships to be established with ALL students while learning is in full action. Thomas Murray says it best, "Culture is built 30 seconds at a time.” Students need to feel valued, understand vulnerability, and stretch themselves for learning and growth. Spending time with each and every student is imperative. As teachers, we have the ability to ignite the spark, shine the light, and fan the flames.

If you can achieve student connections, students feel a sense of pride, and a desire to learn and to be curious for more learning. This classroom experience was developed with thoughtful lessons and practice and became routine as the year progressed. What I didn’t know at the time was how invaluable strong relationships between student and teacher and student to student would be when we moved overnight from brick and mortar to distance learning. The relationships that had been established made the challenging transition seamless. 

The question for me now is how will the start of school look in the fall if we have students who we have not had the opportunity to create this wonderful connection. It's more than learning a name. It is about learning their story, their learning style, and their desired level to be in school. 

To assist in preparing for this even greater challenge, I surveyed my seniors using a Google Form to learn more about their distance learning experiences.  I felt this was important as it would give me a better understanding and better start with my new students. The survey responses have been forward-thinking and helpful. 

Once the survey was completed I was easily able to review the responses and will be able to share the data with interested staff. While I finish up the end of the 2019-2020 school year, I have already begun to envision how I can elevate my students' learning in the virtual world while there are still barriers such as technology, time, and resources that will look different for each learner and their family. It is my hope to reach the Green phase prior to the opening of schools, but if that is not the case I feel more prepared. If our routine as teacher and learner is restored you better believe I will work even more diligently on relationships and creating a healing and welcoming space in my classroom.  

A beautiful experience occurred after the survey was posted to the seniors. I was moved by many of the emails that followed the survey from my students. The growth mindset of knowing that they need to continue to grow and learn through times in which they are being tested. Not tested as an assessment, but real tests; life's tests. Below are samples of emails I recently received.


 Emails such as this are proof that relationships allow for growth in all areas of our life. 
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