As a former classroom teacher of 30 years, I have been concerned about the students and their virtual learning, especially when there are no assignments turned in and no tests taken and graded to see how much a student is being taught and retaining.

My intent was to write about just those things until I ran across a letter written by Peter Dillon, the superintendent of the Berkshire Hills Regional School District in Massachusetts. 

He made me look at what was happening in a different perspective and one that I am glad he pointed out. I completely changed my opinion and because of this I would like to share some of his thoughts today. 

Dillon said, “Many people are concerned about students falling behind because of this. Yes, they may fall behind when it comes to classroom education, but what if …

“Instead of falling behind this group of kids are advanced because of this?

“What if they have more empathy, become more family connected, creative and learn to entertain themselves? What if they learn to love to read and learn to express themselves in writing? 

“What if they learn to enjoy the simple things, like their own backyard and sitting near a window in the quiet?

“What if they notice the birds, when the different flowers emerge, the leaves as they grow each day, and the calming renewal of a gentle rain shower?

“What if this generation are the ones who learn to cook, organize their space, do their laundry, and have an understanding of how to keep a well-run home?

“What if they learn to stretch a dollar and to live with less?  

“What if they learn to plan shopping trips and meals at home?

“What if they learn the value of eating together as a family and finding the good to share in the small delights of the everyday?

“What if they are the ones to place great value on our teachers and educational professionals, librarians, public servants, and the previously invisible essential support workers like truck drivers, grocers, cashiers, custodians, logistics and health care workers and their supporting staff?

“What if among these children, a great leader emerges who had the benefit of a slower pace and a simpler life to truly learn what really matters in this life?

“What if they are in reality, ahead?”

Thank you, Supt. Peter Dillon, for opening my eyes and allowing me to take a second look at a situation and to learn from it.

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