This is the latest in a series of blogs by partners of the Fluency work.
By MaryRose Creedon
I don’t think I realized how much others relied on me until I couldn’t see them anymore. It was so drastically unpleasant one day being torn away from coworkers and students for a phenomenon that I never thought I would see in my lifetime.
When COVID-19 came to light, I was enjoying my spring break in Orlando, Florida. I never heard of it and was oblivious to the fact it had been rampaging our world for quite a while before reaching my home soil. When schools began to close, I began to fear. How would students learn? How would they receive the same support and guidance in their education as they did in the classroom? Would they have the same constant stability at home as they did in their daily routine in the classroom?
I have been blessed to have the opportunity to teach elementary and college-level courses simultaneously throughout the ’19-20 school year. The impact on the students was actually very similar despite the large age gap. The new norm that we see arising today due to these undesirable circumstances shows how ever-changing and valuable educational professionals truly are.
Teachers were forced to rapidly and urgently change their entire teaching practice while still grasping onto the hope of being a solid role model in their students’ lives. When I first began co-teaching online, I could see the frustration and anxiety the teachers had as well as the students. Everyone was thrown into a new place of change altogether while being concurrently isolated.
At first, I was distraught thinking this can’t be done, I was worried about students having instability at home, or being pressed with more responsibilities. As the meetings began and I heard how diligently everyone was working together to address this dire need for appropriate change, the main topic was always the same:
"Address each student’s needs and your needs first."
Every time we began class there was a time to share something personal or special that has happened, or have a warm welcoming conversation with students at the beginning of class to allow them time to reach out and speak freely about any troubles or grateful experiences they have had. I felt how teachers and students were both expressing the value of relying on and supporting each other even though we couldn’t be physically near. The educational community has pulled together and preserved through this time. The Date and Fluency Project has legitimately shown me how having an educational “family” and support system is irreplaceable.
I feel so blessed to be given so many opportunities to listen and brainstorm with teachers and administrators from various school systems in our different states. Especially during this time with so many unknown variables, each professional heavily relied on each other. When they had questions, they would turn to the community. When they needed encouragement, they would turn to the community, and finally, when they needed assistance and support, they would turn to the community.
MaryRose Creedon graduated from West Liberty University in 2018 with a major in Elementary Education. MaryRose is working toward obtaining her master’s as a Reading Specialist while working at West Liberty University as the Data and Technology Fluency Project’s Graduate Assistant. MaryRose has been engaged in many collaborative meetings and projects for the Data and Technology Fluency Project and currently is a member Cohort 3 of The Data and Technology Fluency Project with West Liberty University and the CREATE Lab (situated in Carnegie Mellon University). Her special interests include yoga, writing, and reading.
“If you have great people around you, they will take you higher than your dream will. Leaders are never self-made. Those closest to you determine your level of success, so choosing the right companions as partners in pursuit of your vision is an important decision.” - John C Maxwell