"Each time I start class and their names and faces pop up, I let go of the breath I didn’t know I was holding."
So, today, I got one back. One of my kiddos who hasn’t been showing up to online classes came to class today. She has been watching the videos and doing the assignments, but she hasn’t been coming to class.
Today, she was there. She turned on her webcam and she talked and typed and showed everyone her new haircut—that she gave herself—and smiled and laughed and sang. I had sent a couple emails and checked in with other teachers, so I knew she was okay, but it was such a relief to actually see her.
I’m a music teacher. Yes, I’m a conductor and a director and all the other things that come with music programs, but at my core I’m a teacher. When I see their faces and hear their voices it’s such a relief. Each time I start class and their names and faces pop up and the messages appear in the chat, I let go of the breath I didn’t know I was holding.
After a few minutes I start to wonder about the ones who aren’t there. Are they late? Did they forget? Are they sick?
Every single one of them matters. Maybe that’s something people don’t know about teachers. Every student, every child, every person who ever steps foot in our classroom, matters.
Even the ones who think we don’t like them; maybe those ones especially, matter.
It’s not just the ones I’ve taught since they were freshmen or the ones who make honors ensembles or try out for solos. It’s not about the test scores or the content or the subject matter or the concert or the performance. It’s about the person.
Readers: We want to hear your stories. Send your 300-word COVID-19 story and a photo to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can read more Covid Chronicles essays at arlingtonmagazine.com/category/covid-chronicles/