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Let’s Hear it for the 2020 Teachers!

June 6, 2020

Another Way for week of June 5, 2020

Let’s Hear it for the 2020 Teachers!

Now that school is really finished for most kids, I want to do a belated salute to the teachers, parents, administrators and kids who navigated a couple of harrowing months during the first stage of the pandemic. What teachers managed to do with and for their students is just incredible. A year ago, we couldn’t have imagined this, at least I couldn’t have.

Our two oldest grandsons started kindergarten this year. One school was well prepared for a switch to virtual school by Zoom and other instructional videos from the teacher. The children already each had their own iPads, courtesy of the county-wide school system. My grandson was elated to be able to get on Zoom like his mother working from home. She and her husband have another son, not in school yet, whose schedule, safety and overall activity they still needed to manage. (Her husband has a job he can’t do from home, but is off Sundays and Mondays.)

One day about two months into the shutdown of schools, we were privileged to sit and watch Sam sign onto his iPad to listen to his teacher and get his instructions for the day’s focus and assignments. In one of the videos I saw, his teacher was dressed in a sweatshirt and ponytail, obviously casual in her home. But you could tell she loved her pupils.

On another day, this teacher was dressed up and juggling what appeared to be a six-month-old baby in one arm as she shared instructions for her students for the day. All the while, she was taping the video. That’s a lot of multitasking.

Sam felt SO grown up using the iPad like his parents, and these months have helped him mature in other ways, like sharing his iPad learning with his younger brother, helping him pronounce the words they see there.

Owen and Sam enjoying our dog Velvet, in the pandemic era of no haircuts.

Our other grandson lives in one of the most well to do counties in the nation (in a modest home and community), but their county had three massive computer fails which infected their educational system for a couple weeks. The local newspaper said hackers were to blame; teachers could not log on. But the article also pointed out that “needed technology updates were neglected for more than a year.” Getting up to speed proved monumental, and one spokesperson said, “No one predicted a pandemic.” Yeah.

After they finally got online education working, James had to learn to deal with the boredom of waiting: being patient waiting to talk, turning his microphone on, raising his hand to be recognized, and then waiting while other students also try to get the right buttons pushed to give their answers.

As I assured his mother, children are often more resilient than we expect. His mother and father were frustrated by the whiplash of schedule changes (do we have lessons today or not?) while the school system processed its problems. The parents were working their own jobs at home while guiding the activities, safety, and education of their three little boys. Plus: cooking, cleaning, endless laundry.

One teacher in New Jersey wrote in the early days of the shuttering of schools, “We teachers have to figure out on the fly how to use different online services to keep meeting the needs of our friends [students]. That is going to be very different in each district and grade, depending on the technology available in the district and the level of home support” (

Most homes today have large collections of books to choose from, but Sam’s teacher gave the students access to many new additional books he could read online.

I’m sure that most teachers felt like my friend Lauren at the close of this tough year as she posted on Facebook, “I closed up my classroom yesterday: bagged up all the students’ belongings, put away the books we were reading, pitched the permission slips for the field trip we never took, threw away the activities we hadn’t finished. The hardest part was clearing all the ‘love notes’ off my desk. I’ll miss these students and all the time we didn’t have together! The year didn’t go as planned, but I loved every minute with these sweet children. I hope they remember this year fondly and not with bitter disappointment. Everyone is missing out on something they were looking forward to. Let’s appreciate the expected and routine when it returns, and savor the special occasions for the gifts that they are!”

A hardy “Hats off” salute to all the great teachers out there. May your kind increase, even when the pay can’t!


A local teacher, Scott Showalter, produced more than 100 instructional videos for his students–that were pretty wild, educational, and just so fun. Last summer, he and a team of teachers and volunteers also ran the daycamp for children on the autism spectrum I wrote about here.

What have your children or grandchildren or YOU learned during this pandemic?
What experiences are you missing? Sometimes it helps to just air the grievances.
Any stories or examples or kudos to specific teachers
or persons who’ve gone the extra mile?

Comment below or may write to me at or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of nine books. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  

  1. It was interesting to read of young students’ experiences from the viewpoint of your grandsons. Mine are 12 and above, so they were used to the digital learning. Still, they tell me, they missed their friends.

    My son, a middle school art teacher, says he escaped the end-of-year tomfoolery in his classes. Still, he said there was a rather steep learning curve converting hands-on art to online instruction at first. Also, he’s hoping the class capacity will be lower in the coming year, a good outcome.

    • Yes, our grandsons have not had much screen time at all (either TV or computers) when their parents allowed them to watch on a very limited basis. I’m sure your grandchildren have missed their friends–that’s especially tough to keep children from friends. There must be a lot of disagreements about that.

      I hope too smaller classrooms may be a good outcome for some teachers. Speaking of children, our church service livestream last week included pre-video taped prayer responses from the children of our congregation, and many of us were just thrilled to be able to see and hear from these children of the church family. 🙂

  2. Silver, Beverly P - silverbp permalink

    Thanks for the neat column. – and using Lauren’s lament. I can’t believe that the two older grandsons are old enough for kindergarten. guess first grade next year! Beverly

    • Yes, Lauren wrote a lovely commentary on her feelings; I think a lot of us don’t acknowledge how much most teachers love their students. I know that college profs have not had much fun adapting to teaching via virtual connections. You do well keeping up with technology as much as possible! Best to you!

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