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  • Josh Goller

Appreciation For Our Teachers

It’s been a little while since my last post. Working from home can do that to you, especially when you also have two children trying to continue their classes online and a wife that is teaching a few hundred of her elementary school kids with online music classes. Parents out there, I totally get where this is hard for you all. Hang in there!

164 days. That’s the amount of time our kids will be out of classrooms in Hermiston. Of course, spring break and summer vacation make up a portion of that time – but it is still a very long time between March 13 (our last day with kids in buildings) and August 24 (what is hopefully the first day of next school year for kids). Between those dates, students will engage with their teachers in Oregon’s “Distance Learning for ALL” program, and teachers have certainly risen to the task of creating this program essentially from scratch. And they are doing a great job! They truly deserve our appreciation and thanks!

Which makes this week - Teacher Appreciation Week - all the more important. We may not be able to physically shower our teachers with gifts, but we can certainly take some time to share a kind word, a message of thanks, and a sentiment of appreciation for all of the work they are doing and the love they are demonstrating to our kids. The job they are doing is always an important one, but the current situation has made it all the more difficult and they have very much risen to the occasion. And I'm fortunate to have a front row seat to some of that in my own home.

It’s been interesting watching my wife make the transition to teaching a distance learning crowd. As we were walking in our neighborhood a couple of weeks ago, she said she was starting to feel like she had a handle on things. It’s a far cry from several days before that when she confessed to feeling totally overwhelmed at having to adapt to a completely different way of doing things. Truth be told, online learning was very much in its infancy when we went through college and wasn't happening at all before that. In her master's program they simply did not have the ability to prepare teachers to teach in a virtual or online environment, so this is new territory for veteran and neophyte teachers alike. I continue to be impressed with how she and all her colleagues have made the transition to distance education in such a short period of time and are doing it with excellence. Sure, there are things to work out, but our teachers are doing great work!

Over one weekend, we recorded several video lessons for making homemade musical instruments produced for Rachel’s online classes. Our daughter stepped in to help with them and did a nice job. But as you can probably imagine, there were some mishaps along the way. We had to do multiple takes on a couple of things, and the results were sometimes hilarious – especially with Abby. She is already so expressive, so it’s no surprise that she sometimes steals the show. I think it's great to be able to laugh at yourself from time to time. It's something our daughter is a master of! As we near then end of the school year, we'll put out a blooper reel of some of the highlights for you all to enjoy.

And teachers – thank you for all the hard work you are doing to connect with kids and ensuring that learning is still taking place. I know it’s disappointing for many of you that you do not have your students in your physical classrooms right now. You are saddened that they are missing out on those end of year experiences. You worry about their health and safety. You think about them constantly. You pray they have enough to eat and that they are doing OK. It's one of the things that sets teachers and those who work with our kids apart - they love our kids A TON and our community is all the better for it. So thank you. Thank you for the way in which you care for our kiddos and for making your virtual classrooms available for them. You are SO appreciated.

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