Last spring when the coronavirus spread into Idaho communities, no one knew what our schools should do in this unprecedented situation. Yet from that moment on, school leaders did what we always do: monitor and adjust. As we work through a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, Idaho’s classrooms and our teachers’ instructional delivery looks remarkably different from last year. But we must remember since the start of the school year, Idaho schools have been open, and teachers have been working incredibly hard to teach their students.
Some schools are open for in-person instruction, some are open for online instruction, and some are open for a hybrid mix of instruction. We may walk through the building’s front door, or we may log in with a secure code to join the virtual classroom. Regardless of how we enter, schools remain open, and teachers are passionately excited to work with their students.
Every teacher I know wants to provide their students a 21st century education with all the support they can muster in these challenging times. That may mean replacing a high five with an elbow bump, or a hug with verbal praise. It may mean the teacher calling the student who raises their hand, or it may mean the teacher calling the student who has pressed the “raise your hand” button. But make no mistake: like so many of us across the state and around the globe, Idaho teachers are working harder than ever during this global pandemic.
I believe at every step along the way, our government’s elected leaders — from the governor to the locally elected schools boards — have all acted in good faith, with pure hearts and motives. Any mistakes were never malicious but always with the best interests of Idaho and Idaho’s students. And our teachers have been hard at work in the trenches all along.
Let’s remember to extend a little daily grace to our friends and fellow community members in these unprecedented times, from the grocery store clerk to the neighborhood school teacher. We all want life to get back to normal. If we want more in-person learning in Idaho schools, we must work together. And if we work together, we will get there.