Principal Fellow, Charelle Lovett (Class 26) is recalls her feelings when hearing the announcement that schools would be closed for the remainder of this year:
Today, Governor Cooper made the announcement school buildings will remain closed for the rest of the school year. An announcement that I expected, but still feels like a punch in the gut. One of the things I love about school is the actual building — a place that became a safe escape throughout my childhood. Each of my teachers created a learning environment and community where they saw and believed in my abilities, which pushed me to excel not only academically, but athletically and musically. My heart hurts for the students who lose their safe place longer than expected. The current times forces me and other educators to think about how to continue to create a safe and welcoming learning environment with the absence of a school building. It makes me reflect on a meme posted by Twitter user @kaman723: Relationships before rigor. Grace before grades. Patience before programs. Love before lessons.
Building and maintaining relationships with our students and families — all our students and families — is vital more than ever. There are varying levels of trauma experienced by both educators and the children they serve. Grace is extended to both educators thinking outside the box as they transition to reaching their students remotely, and to students who transition to learning in a new way. I have witnessed school leaders encourage and support from afar through virtual dance parties, weekly Google Meets, and serving as a shoulder to lean on when the times have gotten tough.
It is with this new normal I look forward to my internship. I am entering the experience knowing both students and teachers are returning having experienced a common trauma. I must serve as a supportive pillar for both groups; where teachers positively impact each child they serve, and students are safe and supported.