“Schools are closed right now…and they should be.
But once this storm has passed, and it is safe to get back to school, it is where students and teachers need to be.
We have learned a lot about at-home learning over the past few months, but it can’t replace the experiences that schools offer.
So, when I read that influential and powerful people want to make wholesale changes to education because we have ‘all this access to technology,’ I get upset.
To the lawmakers, politicians, and decision makers questioning why schools are still in existence… you’ve never been there.
You’ve never been there on the first day of school, when students are excited to see their teachers and friends.
You’ve never been there when a student is sounding out letters and words, looking at their teacher exclaiming, ‘I’m reading!’
You’ve never been there for that hard concept taught when it finally ‘clicks’ for students and you see the lightbulb moment.
You’ve never been there for that school assembly where kids are honored for the content of the character and not just their academic abilities.
You’ve never been there to see a kid get to eat breakfast and lunch, which may be the only meals that they will receive that day.
You’ve never been there to see a kid get a hug from a teacher, which may be the only attention and connection that they will receive for the day.
You’ve never been there when a nervous and scared new student starts school, only to have 15 best friends by the end of the day.
You’ve never been there when students choose to play outside or watercolor paint, instead of using technology.
You’ve never been there to watch that child with special needs be included in at recess, getting to play with their peers for what may be the first time.
You’ve never been there for the music, fitness, or art class, where a spark is ignited into a lifelong passion.
You’ve never been with that first-year teacher or 25-year veteran burning the midnight oil, working tirelessly to make their teaching better for kids.
You’ve never been there for that parent teacher conference when the teacher shares forward progress after months or maybe years of intervention.
You’ve never been there for the four, five, or six plus years of college where we learn how to engage, instruct, and manage kids in the flesh.
You’ve never been there for the therapy taking place, where students get taught essential life skills, equipping them for adulthood.
You’ve never been there with that teacher who cries for their students, especially the ones that don’t come from a secure home life.
You’ve never been there for the last day of school when kids are sobbing uncontrollably knowing they won’t see their friends and teachers for a few months, or maybe won’t see them again.
You’ve never been there, so don’t claim that you’ll fix what isn’t even broken. Schools are essential. Schools are irreplaceable.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Brittany Olson. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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