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Thoughts on teaching from home

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Andy Darring 1
At the end of the year, Darring gives each student an eagle necklace he makes to recognize accomplishment and forever being a part of the community, he creates in class.

Thoughts on teaching from home after six weeks from Seattle Education Association member Andy Darring, a fourth/fifth grade teacher at Pathfinder K-8.

I hate this.

It minimizes human interactions and kids feel more isolated and confused and lonely. I am a relational teacher; content has always been secondary for me. You can't teach young people this way. There are sweet moments, but they are too few and fleeting.

I have stayed sane by trying new things and being patient with my efforts. Just like in my classroom, I must be at peace with mistakes and failure. It's all new and I wasn't trained well for much of this. I can learn, but it takes time and I have had to work to accept that.

The wide variety of struggles each of my families is facing is overwhelming. Making individual connections with as many families and students as I can is the most important thing I can offer.

Andy Darring 2
Andy’s own daughter, Hattie, is also at home trying to manage continuous learning.

Connection is key. As in my classroom, students will remember how they felt, not what they learned. I'm letting that drive my interactions and giving myself as much time as I can to figure that out. I keep reminding myself that my humanness is good enough; I am finding that students and families are craving that right now. The small moments of connection, humor, honesty and grace are good enough.

This is not the teaching I fell in love with. This is deeply flawed. I'll never be perfect at it and, honestly, I don't want to be. My goal is to hold emotional space and connection wherever I can so that I am ready to rebuild real human learning when the time comes. The more empathy I have for my families and students, the more I find I have for myself. That is how I take care of myself.

I know this is the right thing to do, but I am tired.

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