During weeks of unexpected and unplanned distance learning an even greater appreciation for teachers has developed as parents recognize the hard work and dedication required in forming young minds.
With students now home out of heath and safety concerns due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many parents learned quickly the hard work and dedication it takes to teach children: all day – every day.
To coincide with National Teacher Appreciation Day (May 5), many Diocesan Catholic schools encouraged their students to take the initiative to honor their teachers. Posters, drawings and videos were posted online while two schools hosted parades to honor their teachers.
On May 7 vehicles full of students wound their way through the parking lot of St. Elizabeth Seton Catholic School in Naples where teachers were lined up to greet them. Horns blared as students and parents alike waved and shouted expressions of love, thanks and longing for a return to the classroom.
Organized by the Seton Home and School Association, a variety of signs adorned the vehicles: “We love our teachers!” “I love Seton!” “We appreciate you!” “The best teachers are at Seton!” “Thank You!” “We are so blessed to have teachers like you!” “Thank you for your hard work and love!”
One sign summed up the feelings of many: “Thanks 6th grade teachers. It is not so much what is poured into a student, but what is planted by the TEACHER that really counts!”
A similar parade was held May 6 in downtown Venice to honor the teachers at Epiphany Cathedral Catholic School. Signs on vehicles expressed the same sentiments as in Naples such as “We miss our Epiphany teachers and staff.”
The teachers honored during both parades rejoiced, some with tears of joy, in being able to see their students in person versus through an internet video-classroom.
St Joseph Catholic School administration showed their appreciation for their teachers by delivering gift baskets and lawn signs. Students in the school Builder’s Club prepared a special “Coffee Cart” bag, wanting to keep their annual tradition of bringing a coffee cart to each classroom during Teacher Appreciation Week.
Correspondingly, teachers across the Diocese miss their students as well and have been creating signs and video messages to share on school websites and social media accounts.
At St. Andrew Catholic School in Cape Coral the teachers compiled a video to their students. Danielle Pendleton, a mathematics teacher, used a math formula with the final answer (I <3 u) which translates to “I love you.” Spanish Teacher Laura Baker showed off a colorful poster noting she is missing all of her “amigos” big and small, while Literature and Religion Teacher Julie Dudek shared a limerick and encouraged her students to share one in return.
These are just a few examples of how the teachers and their students are staying connected while missing each other because of continued distance learning.