Cheryl Carrier, Executive Director, Ford Next Generation Learning
“HERO’S ARE ORDINARY PEOPLE THAT DO EXTRAORDINARY THINGS….THEY SHOW UP WITH THEIR BEST STUFF WHEN IT MATTERS MOST,” Kevin Brown, Author of The Hero Effect.
This has been a year that will go down in history for so many reasons. Many of us have had terrible heartbreak and pain and felt lonely, isolated, unappreciated, and depressed. For educators, you not only had to worry about your own children at home but the children you open your hearts to every day when they walk through your classroom doors. But wait! This year, there were no classroom doors.
This year was a year of Zoom and Google meetings with your students. Many of your students didn’t turn on their cameras and you worried about them and wondered if they were OK. Were they there? Were they safe? Were they hungry? Were they depressed? You not only worried, but you checked in with them, you encouraged them, you gave them a reason to join the virtual classroom and to engage. You worked hard and did your best even though it was difficult for you, and you often felt like you didn’t do enough or didn’t reach all your students. You tossed and turned at night, and you wondered how you were going to sustain this upheaval of your home and work life.
You did all this while taking care of your own children who were learning from home and whose classroom was at your kitchen table. You competed for bandwidth with your significant other and children and wondered whether your students even had wifi or a device. But you managed to get those devices and wifi to those who didn’t.
You had to learn how to teach virtually, help your employer partners engage with students, learn new technology, teach new technology and meet with parents virtually (and often train them as well) and make sure your students and their parents were secure in the fact that you were there and you cared and supported them.
Everything took longer, everything was harder, everything was different, and yet you did not give up. You became educators because you love children because you want to inspire them, to help them find their way to a meaningful and happy life.
Because of my work, my lens is always focused on how we ensure students have the skills, mindsets, tools to be lifelong learners and be prepared for college, career, and life. I am not an educator, but I work with many, and I know that you went into education to do that very thing for every student who passes through your doors (or, for the time being, at least, your virtual classroom).
You are my HEROS and while I imagine that you often wondered if you made a difference, let me tell you that to those children that you cared for during this difficult time — you most certainly did. You are also their HEROS. Thank you on behalf of the team at Ford Next Generation Learning!