Teachers rise to this teachable moment

The St. Jude Educator Ambassador Network is made up of six social media influencers with an education focus. The network has donated free downloadable resources so that we can offer them to our educator and parent supporters in this time of need.

A few weeks ago, Texas third-grade teacher Juan Gonzalez Jr. posted a picture of an empty classroom on his @Teaching3rdWithMrG Instagram account, with the message:

Who knew that empty classrooms would be our new abnormal, with schools now closed, with teachers and students hunkered in their homes, because of the coronavirus?

But a teacher’s gotta teach, right? And so Gonzalez and fellow members of the St. Jude Educator Ambassador Network are finding cool, creative ways to keep their students learning and engaged.

Gonzalez, who teaches in an area where many students come from bilingual homes, posts daily schedules for his class — everything from Math to Me Time, from Reading to Explore Time activities such as a memory scavenger hunt.

After a week of virtual teaching, it was clear the teacher was learning a few things, too.

“More than anything,” he wrote on Instagram, “the students want to be seen and have conversations. Phone calls, digital calls, and emails make most students (and parents) swoon.”

And so, one night Gonzalez gathered — virtually, of course — “some of my favorite mini humans” to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to a classmate.

“These are weird times but moments like these are reminding me to remember everything that’s still good,” wrote Gonzalez, a cancer survivor who had Non-Hodgkin lymphoma as a teenager.

The St. Jude Educator Ambassador Network is made up of six social media influencers with an education focus — along with Gonzalez, there’s Amber Masters (@Asmilingteacher), Brooke Brown (@TeachOutsidetheBox), Nicki Dingraudo (@TheSprinkleToppedTeacher), Bryce Sizemore (@TheTeachingTexan) and Kayla Dornfeld (@TopDogTeaching).

The network has donated free downloadable resources so that we can offer them to our educator and parent supporters in this time of need. To download those resources, visit this page and click the sign-up button. Resources include a craft projects, and alphabet, handwriting and math exercises.

Typical of the network’s kindness and spirit of togetherness is an open letter to fellow teachers everywhere from Nicki, aka The Sprinkle Topped Teacher. The letter is titled “Dear Teacher, You Are Doing Enough.”

“In case you need a reminder …” she writes, “Your lesson plans don’t have to be perfect. We are all learning together. You will figure it out. You always do.”

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