Powerful words from a wounded heart

Published 5:21 pm Tuesday, April 21, 2020

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It goes without saying that there are some children and teens still rejoicing over the fact that schools are shut down.

But then there are those youngsters who totally grasp what the education concept is all about. Even at a young age, they understand that their path to success as an adult is lined with the knowledge and skills they are absorbing now.

I feel bad for the latter group. Yes, I know they are still learning while cooped up at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. I know that our local school systems – as well as those across our state and nation – have developed methods to deliver education via alternative measures such as online classes and even delivering packets of written material.

But, alas, nothing can take the place of face-to-face interaction between students and their teachers. Teachers are able to use sight and sound to determine if a child is in need of something more than standard training. They are able to decipher what’s hidden underneath a child’s exterior and, in turn, offer emotional support to go along with the standardized instruction.

And children need interaction with their young peers. A classroom setting offers more than reading, writing and arithmetic. It’s there that children learn how to adapt to being a part of a larger group; how to be part of a team, and act accordingly, something that will prove extremely beneficial later in life when they accept a job within an office or industrial environment.

Over the past month…or at least since school has been out of session since March 16, I’ve seen hundreds of posts on Facebook that tell the story of how parents are brushing the cobwebs off their past experiences as a student in an effort to help their children with homework. At the same time, I’ve witnessed an equal, or even greater, number of posts from teachers who yearn to return to the classroom so they can get back to what they are highly trained and skilled to do – teach!

There’s one post, a poem, I feel the need to share with those who may not have seen it. I’m not a teacher, but the words spoken by this woman touched my heart and soul. It was shared by a teacher (friend) at Aulander Elementary School and the words could apply to any of our local teachers whose hearts are as broad as the Chowan River.

“The Day I Didn’t Lose a Pencil”

By Rachel Pappas

Today, my classroom didn’t lose a pencil; I didn’t throw away any glue. I didn’t help a child who didn’t know what to do.

Today, my crayons went unused, and the scissors stayed nice and sharp. But everywhere else, things seemed to be falling apart.

The world went on turning as people stayed in their homes. But today my classroom stayed empty, silent past the morning bell tone.

Today, I didn’t hug my students or tell them each I loved them. I didn’t teach reading, writing, or how to decompose 10.

Today, I didn’t see their faces beyond a computer screen. I didn’t spend my day nursing emotions unseen.

Today, I learned that the doors would stay locked because this disease shows no slack. How many pencils I would give just to have my students back!

Those are very powerful words in a time where we all feel powerless. I’m hopeful that Rachel Pappas, her peers in the teaching profession, and the millions of schoolchildren across our nation have the opportunity to return to some sense of normalcy very soon.

In the meantime, my heartfelt thanks goes out to our teachers and educational administrators as they try to keep the ship afloat and steered in the right direction within these turbulent waters.

Cal Bryant is the Editor of Roanoke-Chowan Publications. Contact him at cal.bryant@r-cnews.com or 252-332-7207.

About Cal Bryant

Cal Bryant, a 40-year veteran of the newspaper industry, serves as the Editor at Roanoke-Chowan Publications, publishers of the Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald, Gates County Index, and Front Porch Living magazine.

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