One of the true joys of teaching is seeing a child’s face light up when a concept ‘clicks.’ I became a teacher for these moments, and it’s these moments that make teaching special.
Over the past 12 months we have been challenged to create these moments or ‘clicks’ in new and different ways. First, we tried to reach our students through a computer screen. Now, as we have moved back to in person learning, we try to ‘click’ through masks. The students have been nothing short of remarkable.
Despite all of our challenges, our students have ‘clicked’, grown, and had an amazing year. The unsung heroes of the pandemic are our children. They come to school each day ready to take on the challenge of learning in a mask. Students have made new friendships, bonded over new experiences, and have excelled as learners.
The past twelve months have brought disruption to our normal routine, but the connection between teacher and student is as strong as ever. Whether via Zoom, or through a mask, students are ‘clicking’ and the evidence is in their eyes. Teachers at Hillel Day School are tasked with not only teaching the curriculum, but with nourishing the neshamot, the souls, of our students.
Our masks not only cover our mouth and nose, but they also cover the faces we make. Struggling students will often give a wry smile and nod to signal they understand a still shaky concept. Students will purse their lips when they are thinking or attempting to sound out a word. This year, all of this has been done behind masks. As teachers we have been forced to stare into the eyes of our students for clues. But what we have really been staring into, are the neshamot of our students. Our contact has been eye to eye, one neshama to another neshama.
As the world begins to reopen, I hope to remember this year not for the challenges, but for the connections I have made with my students and the neshamot we have nourished.