I have had the unique opportunity to continue to work with my students throughout the past few months.

A lot of thoughts have run through my head during this time. I am transported back to how I felt as a student after 9/11. It was as if the world had stopped and I was trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together. I didn’t understand the gravity of what was going on in the world around me. I can recall being home sick that day and feeling concerned, a little confused but also safe in the comfort of my own home.

Being an educator during this time is a tremendous responsibility. Maya Angelou captured this essence perfectly when she stated, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” So how do I help my students navigate their feelings during this time? I don’t think there’s one right answer, but we have implemented the following practices in order to help our students navigate this new reality.

Stay Informed – Each day, we take the time to stay up to date on the news. This is not out of fear- but out of the opportunity to learn and fully comprehend the challenges our country is facing, how we can stay safe and what positives are coming from a nation in crisis.

Connect – We take the time to “check-in” each morning and connect. Everyone processes things differently, so discussing where we’re at emotionally can help students to connect with peers and feel safe in their classroom community.

Devotions – We start off each morning with a daily devotion that helps us to connect to God and place our trust in him, the ultimate healer.

Be Mindful – We are staying safe and mindful of our actions during this time. We are sanitizing our work areas, wearing masks, washing our hands regularly and stepping up to support each other.

I would encourage you to think about how you are implementing these practices in your own life right now. Is there one area that you need to focus more on?

By Katherine Kelly, Academic Director