Many of us grew up watching Little House on the Prairie, which followed the life of Laura Ingles Wilder from childhood to adulthood. Many of the episodes of the show centered around the school, as it was the main social realm for the children of Walnut Grove. Unlike our students today who can stay in contact with most of their peers through social media, the students of Walnut Grove only had person-to-person contact at school making school all the more important socially speaking.
Now one would think that today with all the social media accounts and cell phones floating around in the hands of our preteens and teens that actually having person-to-person contact would not be so important. One might ask, “Why on earth would you be missing your friends when you are constantly on the phone texting with them? Is that not enough contact!” In reality, the answer is no. Children, just like adults, crave personal interaction and communication.
I recently read an article in Forbes Magazine that talked about the importance of face-to-face communication and human interactions. Those in the education field have known the importance of building positive relationships for years. Teacher-to-student, student-to-teacher, student-to-student — all of these relationships are vital to having a successful classroom and school experience. When I served as a principal, I often told my staff that the most important thing they could do for their students was to build positive, loving, and trusting relationships with them.
While building relationships may not be as easy during this era of COVID, it is possible and I have witnessed it! Many Zoom lessons have been observed with students and teachers interacting positively and enjoying their time together. Now that we have transitioned from virtual learning and then to hybrid and now to full in-person learning, I have been so excited to see students and teachers rekindling their “over the airwaves” relationships. After the first few days of face-to-face instruction, it was like they had never been apart! The resilience of our students and staff has been amazing to watch. Teachers have never worked harder, and students have never been asked to do more independently than over the last twelve months. Yet, amongst all this craziness, the relationships have continued to grow and thrive!
I could not be more proud of our students and teachers for all they have endured and accomplished during these unprecedented times. With all this, it helps us to realize that hope endures. Over the last twelve months, hope has floated on the airwaves as relationships have been developed and endured via Zoom meetings and social media. I wonder how Ms. Beadle and the students of Walnut Grove might have responded given the same circumstances as our schools today. I would think that they would be amazed by all that we have accomplished and endured and most of all be as proud of our schools as I am.