First Day of Online Learning: Reflections from Teachers

“Funny the difference a week or two can make; when we were wishing for a snow day or a longer vacation. I suppose this falls into the category of be careful for what you wish for, because you might actually get it. 

I taught two classes this afternoon, a relatively light day.  But it was great seeing the faces of our community.  For a minute we were able to laugh, converse, and learn.  This is a new experience for us all; everyone had questions and a bunch of wondering if this will work, if we will see our friends and classmates.  As strange as it was, after minute of questions it was as if we were in the same room. Joking, asking questions, ensuring each other that we are not going a bit loony.  Yeah this is our new normal; at least for a month or two or perhaps even to the end of the school year.  But we will learn together, be friends together, and look forward to the time when we are all in the same classroom. I’m sad. Sad that I don’t get to see the students… Sad we don’t get to play baseball… Sad won’t see the play until the fall… Sad I won’t get to see the seniors do their senior thing. I am inspired though, that we all came together..And we will get through this as a community. “

– Mr. Bernstein, Social Studies Instructor

“This week has been really difficult. The anxiety provoked by the situation itself, the uncertainty of what is to come, the rush to convert our classes to virtual format, and the days spent managing my own little kids while trying to handle everything else left me feeling completely overwhelmed. Seeing my students today was a breath of fresh air. The online meetings were rejuvenating, and I feel like no matter how stressful things get in the weeks to come, it will be uplifting to continue to come together in this way.”

– Mrs. Kahn, English Instructor and Department Chair

“I had my Bible I Honors class today. It was SOOOO Wonderful seeing, and speaking with, my lovely students. The half hour went by much too quickly. At the beginning we did our normal ritual of reciting Torah blessings. Just before we started, one of my male students said: Guys, put on your kippah. They did it! I was surprised and delighted. After the blessings we did our next ritual, which was to play Word Warp–a challenging word game from the Detroit Free Press that I love, and I now bring them to class to do together. We did a little bit of Bible, which also went well, and I gave an assignment, which they all seemed actually eager to do. One more thing–when I first entered the “classroom”–all but one student was already waiting for me. I started talking very excitedly, and then one of my brilliant students said, “Rabbi, you need to unmute yourself.” They hadn’t heard anything I had said. Later in the session, one of my students, frankly one of the most talkative, said to the classmates: Let’s all mute now so we can just listen to Rabbi Pachter. Altogether, delightful!”

– Rabbi Pachter, Rabbinic Advisor