By Julie Christensen

To say my job as an educator has changed is quite the understatement. Changed not just in proximity to my students but changed in my outlook of what is important in education.  I am thankful to work in a district that puts an emphasis on students, parents and educators. Our district theme this year is “Relationships Matter”. When that theme was developed no one thought we would be living in a world where we would become isolated in our homes trying to educate students through their parents.

Parents are working to the best of their abilities to help their children learn and grow. All that in addition to potentially working from home, going to work if they are an essential employee, and trying to maintain the emotional health of their families. Not an easy task and we as educators understand that.

Educators have learned new platforms to deliver instruction and help their students maintain and grow in their learning. I have always tried to establish good relationships with my students and their families. In the days of COVID19 this takes on new meaning. Time may be spent asking parents if they have their basic needs being met and listening to their concerns about not knowing how to “teach” their children. Is this something that I thought I would be doing as a veteran educator? No, it is not, but it is one of the things that God has placed on my heart during this tumultuous time.

There is a collective heartache as teachers, students and parents realize that school has changed for the end of the school year. We feel the weight of it crushing our hope, as we long to be together, to finish the year well.

There is the sorrow of lost connection, no high fives, and perhaps no goodbyes. The celebration of milestones that families look forward to will not happen. Graduations from high school and college will look vastly different, but still our God  provides Hope during this time of uncertainty.

Our Good Shepard sees it all and He gathers us close and wraps His arms around us. He understands our sorrow and He tenderly whispers, “I’m holding you and I’ll never let you go. I will guide you through this pain and disappointment.”

God has this! Parents, your efforts to support your children are amazing. Even if the academic piece doesn’t get done, they will be okay. Give them extra hugs and “teach” them in a way that will help them grow closer to God. Know that educators understand your struggles and are not judging you but rather looking at you in awe as you hold it all together.

“He will tend his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms; he will carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young” Isaiah 40:11