What Teachers Need During a Pandemic: Their Students

While the media have focused on students’ and parents’ needs for school to be open and in-person, they typically have left out the teachers’ needs. I am not referring to the feeling of safety from teaching at home; I am referring to the need for being physically with our students.

I didn’t become a teacher to impart content — although that is vital. I became a teacher to be with children and teenagers and impart values and learn from the younger generation. Teaching at Concordia has been a gift because of the ability to teach with Christ at the center and to present skills that students can use in high school and beyond.

When school closed in March for remote learning, I was unaware that teaching from home was the reason I was feeling down. I thought my negative mood was because I couldn’t leave my house. Instead, it became clear that the reason for my moodiness was that I missed my students.

After two months of remote learning, some of my Fashion and Textiles students decided to make masks for essential workers. In May I met with five students in the Concordia parking lot to give them supplies to make masks. When I went home, my mood was lifted. I realized that my happiness was because I had a physical connection to my students. It wasn’t a close connection; we stayed 6 feet apart. But we were close enough for me to feel the happiness of being with “my girls.”

In addition to building relationships, I have learned so much from my students. When I taught English early in my career, my view of Atticus’ Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird was influenced by a comment from a student. During my first year of teaching Adult Roles and Responsibilities (nicknamed Life 101), I was introduced to a budgeting app when a student blurted out, “I can’t believe I spent $23.00 last month at Starbucks.”

Having personal connections and learning from my students are what get me up in the morning. If circumstances lead Concordia to go back to remote learning, I will remember that eventually I will be back with students when the pandemic subsides. As one of my favorite Bible verses says, “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.” -- Matthew 6:34.

Each day with my students is precious, and even if circumstances change, I will remember that God has a plan for whatever happens at Concordia.

Lillian Anderson,
Family & Consumer Science Teacher