While many teachers are going virtual for their students, this special group of elementary teachers is hitting the streets.
Michigan residents have been practicing social distancing since Governor Whitmer’s press conference late Thursday night, March 12th.
It’s only been a week and a half, but it feels like months. In addition to handling their own uncertainties over COVID-19, parents have been thrust into the role of educator, realizing pretty quickly that teachers must possess magical powers that allow them to keep a classroom full of whiny, sticky, sniffly children quiet, calm, and riveted.
Voodoo, I tell you.
And not only do these mythical creatures we call educators have the power to tame children, but they love them! Our teachers genuinely miss our kids! I’m sure many of you have received an outpouring of resources, emails, videos, and virtual meetings from your kids’ teachers. They want to help.
On March 23rd, as Governor Whitmer was announcing a shelter in place for the next three weeks, elementary teachers in Hartland banded together to create a parade to remind students they are missing them. The teachers mapped out parade routes through the major subdivisions (even rehearsing them ahead of time to give families a sense of timing) and encouraged those who lived outside of these neighborhoods to park in the subs, remaining in their vehicles so they could be a part of the school spirit.
In true Michigan style, there was unexpected snow on the ground, so kids bundled up in boots and snow pants, waving as their teachers drove by. Every teacher drove a separate vehicle: some decked theirs out, some blared music, and all had their windows down, waving and shouting hello from a safe distance.
Many kids showed their appreciation by making signs of their own. Local mom, Heather Calabrese, was moved to tears as the caravan of smiling teachers drove by. “It hasn’t been an easy week and we have many hard ones ahead of us, but it was made a little easier today because of our teachers.”
My son’s first-grade teacher, Natalie Moulton (who definitely has some fairy dust up her sleeve), shared in an email to her students’ families: “During these trying times, one thing is certain – I’m grateful to live in an area filled with people like you that are uplifting, kind and caring. Hartland is a special place, and it showed today during our parade.”
It’s moments like this that restore my faith in humanity. Let’s hope this unprecedented time in our history will at least produce a renewed culture of respect for our educators.
Miranda is a freelance writer, editor, and educator who writes about raising a child with autism on her blog, Mommy Catharsis. Her work can also be found on Ann Arbor Family Press, Scary Mommy, Mamalode, and The Mighty. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or her business site, Keskes Ink.