This isn’t the first time we’ve said it, and it won’t be the last; this school year was nothing like anything we’ve experienced before. Virtual school has required us to adapt in an abundance of ways, yet there has been one constant: the dedication of Potomac teachers. Although they may occasionally forget to start a Zoom meeting or spend half of class trying to figure out how to share their audio while screen sharing, they have never wavered in their commitment to support their students in all of their endeavors. No training or professional development program could have prepared our teachers to deal with a pandemic that changed all of our lives; nonetheless, Potomac teachers persevered.
In the true spirit of Potomac’s core principles, our teachers managed to preserve the joys of learning even in a virtual format. From the tough love of my advisor forcing me to get on a lunchtime homeroom-Zoom to encouragement and compassion, like teachers checking in with me after a rough day, their support has manifested itself in a variety of ways. They have attempted to foster community on and off-screen, understanding that we all just want to be together.
In a way, we have come to view our teachers in a new light. During virtual classes, we see the insides of their homes, understand their Wi-Fi struggles, and hear their dogs barking when the doorbell rings. Outside the confines of a traditional classroom, we have begun to see each other in more authentic ways. It is no longer awkward to run into my teachers at the grocery store, as we have more in common than I once thought. We’ve gone through the challenges of a global pandemic together. And through it all, they have been there for us.
The challenges of virtual learning have brought me closer to many of my teachers. I now know them more wholly, as people with lives outside of the classroom who have had the generosity of spirit to extend compassion to their students, even during periods of personal struggle. Online school requires everyone to buy-in, unmute, and jump into uncertainty, ultimately allowing us to forge closer connections with our teachers, reminding us that we’re all in this together.
To all my teachers: thank you. We don’t say it nearly enough.