By DCAEYC Member Kalpana Kumar Sharma,
Leading Educator at Brightwood Education Campus
It was Friday, March 20th, 2020 when I [last] saw my scholars waving goodbye to me at the end of the day. I had no idea what the coming weeks were going to be like. After everyone was gone, I sat down at my table thinking about making a list of what I might need to take home for the next two weeks. The very first thing I placed in my bag were books on Emotions and Healthy habits. Then I carried all the other items on my list with a feeling that it’s only two weeks and we will come back soon. But now the scenario has changed, and COVID-19 has taken over all the weeks and stay-at-home has been ordered.
At first, I thought about how I am going to teach remotely to our little scholars who really need a lot of language modeling, eye contact, and one to one interaction. I spent a lot of time during Spring Break exploring different ways to teach little scholars. I contacted parents to find out their choices for using technology and I found out that many of them do not have wi-fi connections. During this time of exploring the use of technology by parents, I attended a meeting with DCAEYC and WTU Early Childhood Task Force members who were planning to launch Lessons on TV. I volunteered to teach and support this initiative because I knew that many scholars and parents will be able to join and benefit from learning at home through the broadcast. It’s like a light of hope for them as they will overcome the technology challenges at home and be able to participate in distance learning.
This is the third week of distance teaching and I have gone through many ups and downs of digital classroom and fear of COVID-19. I hope this COVID-19 thing goes away and we can resume our normal lives. It makes me feel disheartened, discouraged and sad at times. I keep wondering when this will come to an end. But when I am able to sit with these feelings and thoughts, I am able to see that I am clinging to the past and how things used to be while being hopeful for the future. Living in hope stops us from living in the present. So, I have decided that I am going to shift my mindset to empowerment. I am going to focus on things that I can do right now to make my life feel more normal and regular. I am going to use this opportunity to grow, reassess and learn new things. I would like everyone to understand that students have to Maslow before they can Bloom. Let’s be simple, be consistent and stay connected with students and families. We are all together in this. Hang in there. We will make it through. We always do.