By: Meredith Biesinger
Covid-19 overwhelmed the world quickly, and the American education system was certainly not exempt from the pandemic that we are still battling today. In Mississippi, several public schools are in rural areas, meaning several students have limited internet access due to geographic location or, family finances. Schools sent out surveys quickly asking who had internet access and capabilities such as Zoom, or Google Classroom. Alternate options were created such as paper packets that are to be picked up every Wednesday at designated, drive thru, pick up locations. Is this a perfect situation? No, absolutely not. Are things working? Yes. Why? For the first time in years, the end goal across the country is not state testing, it is not funding, it is just simply providing an education for students, while asking for student and parent involvement.
If anything can be taken from this situation it’s that maybe it’s time to re-think the education sector and how things are done. Not since World War II have so many countries around the world witnessed education institutions, both public, and private, completely lock down for weeks at a time, and for the same reason.
This disruption might have unintentionally created an opportunity for educators to hit the re-set button. What do we need to be teaching? What are we preparing our students for? How can we best utilize the technology and communication tools we have in our homes and in our classrooms? These questions are already being asked and rest assured will continue to be topics of conversation and great study for months to come.
Of course teachers miss their students, and students miss their teachers and classmates. This is not a normal situation, for anyone. However, it’s been navigated quickly and efficiently by educators who care. Life throws curve balls, storms, and pandemics sometimes. Hurricane Katrina devastated southern Mississippi, and the students in this area at that time were out of school for over a month. The technology that we have now, certainly was not available in 2005, and yet, the graduating seniors of that year, now work as educators, and healthcare providers on the front lines of this great pandemic we are currently battling in 2020.
So, what have we learned from this? We have learned that we can and will overcome. It’s been done before, it’s being done right now, and it will be done again in some way, at some point. We have multiple resources to communicate with and educate our students, and we are learning the best ways to utilize these resources for now, and also for the future. After all, “teaching is more than imparting knowledge; it is inspiring change.” ~William Arthur Ward