Be There: Your Students Need You Now More Than Ever

Amanda BolonBlog, Connect Better, Survival


  • An awakening about what our students really need right now.
  • Encouragement during this time of uncertainty.
  • Coming back stronger and better because we cared.

I miss you.

Those words from my second graders this week on a video call went straight to my heart.

Right now, we are all settling into a new “normal,” but one thing that we forget is that there is NOTHING normal about what we are doing. Connecting with students online, through phone calls, or not connecting with them at all is not what we signed up for when we decided to become educators. I don’t know about you, but the aspect of spending my days with my kids in my classroom was the largest draw to this profession.

Districts across the country have different requirements. Contact every student every week. Attempt to make contact but don’t be pushy. Move to 100% online learning. Packets sent home only because of lack of internet access. Grade everything. Don’t grade anything.

But what is most important right now? Is it making sure students have activities from every subject area to work on each day? Is it required direct instruction time from teachers each day/week? Some would argue that educating these children is the most important thing so that we don’t return next school year with kids who are “behind.”

What if we took education and thought of it as the secondary goal? Yes, you read that right. Is it possible that the most important thing right now is not something that can be taught through a book or by using our standards?

What if we took education and thought of it as the secondary goal? Click To Tweet

I miss you.

Those three words opened my eyes to what my students need. We are emotional as educators, sometimes to a fault. Our decisions are always based on what is best for kids, even if that means going against what the powers that be are saying. By no means am I telling you to go against what your district has decided. Trust me when I say that their jobs right now are far from a walk in the park. What I am asking is that you listen to your students.

Shift Your Thinking

I miss you.

School looks different, we are charging uncharted waters, and we need to shift our thinking. Our kids still have the same issues that they had when we were seeing them face to face. Parents still fight over custody, kids continue to see and hear more than they should, food shortages are real, and counseling services are important. Now, they have added concerns that they didn’t before. They miss their teachers and their friends. Our students miss the building and the people in it who kept them safe. Kids miss the consistency that school provides. They miss their bus drivers. Most of all, they miss learning.

The problem is that our students learned much more than what was in our lesson plans. Showing kindness is something that we focused on every day in my classroom, along with making meaningful connections with our classroom family. I taught respect with every mistake, empathy with every argument, love with every heartbreak. I showed them that it was okay to show and share your emotions in order to better understand where they were comingĀ  from.

Stay Grounded

I miss you.

It is amazing what will ground you. We get so caught up in the academic instruction that we are supposed to be giving our students. How easy it is to forget about the emotional well being of our kids. This week, I was brought back to reality in the middle of a conversation about working hard on their school work. I nearly buckled when I heard the words spoken.

Don’t cry. I miss you too. We will get through this. Everyone is doing their very best. If you need me, I’m always here.

I found myself consoling them exactly as I would have if we were face to face. In this moment, a sense of clarity and perspective flooded my mind. THIS is what my students need.

They need me to tell them that everything is going to be okay. What they need to hear is that the person they have learned to trust and depend on is still there for them. Learning is important, but they need to hear it is okay to take a break, to do things a little differently than they would in school.

Keep Connecting

The most important thing right now is to keep connecting with your kids. Phone calls, emails, video chats, carrier pigeon, whatever works. Your students needed you in the classroom, but they need you now more than ever. Children thrive on our relationships with them. Remind them that it is okay to not understand what is going on and to not quite understand how they are feeling about it. Let them know that you are there for them. Guide them in the crazy storm.

When all of this is over, chances are you will have a new group of students. You may never get proper closure with your current kids, and as hard as it is on you, imagine how difficult it will be on them. We can’t change what is going on, but we can do one thing. We can be there for them in this time of uncertainty.

Be there. Just be there.

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Amanda is a coffee obsessed second grade teacher from southeast Ohio. She enjoys teaching littles and thinking creatively to help her students learn. Amanda thrives on collaboration with peers in order to someday achieve her goal- change the world, one student at a time! Amanda couldn’t do what she does without the support of her amazing family and her dog Lily.