Teachers reach out to students with parades of love

With schools closed across the country because of the coronavirus, teachers and staff at elementary schools in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Tennessee took to their cars and created parades through the neighborhoods of their students.

Horns honking. Cheers and waves and homemade signs. And teachers, giving us all a lesson in how much they love their students.

So to the three R’s, let’s add a fourth — resourcefulness.

Teachers are nothing if not resourceful. With schools closed across the country because of the coronavirus, teachers and staff at elementary schools in Maryland, Pennsylvania and Tennessee took to their cars and created parades through the neighborhoods of their students.

Teachers from the West Allegheny School District near Pittsburgh followed the district’s bus route, rolling through neighborhoods with horns blaring and signs bearing uplifting messages. Students and parents returned the good wishes safely from their sidewalks, driveways and porches.

It was a similar scene from the teachers of West Towson Elementary School in Maryland — although principal Sue Hershfeld, ever the educator, reminded students to stick with their lessons while at home.

She told WBAL-TV that “this is an opportunity to stay on track, practice those math facts, read and complete any work that your teachers send home, and please know that we miss you and we hope to see you soon.”

In Collierville, Tennessee, Monday was to have been the first day back to school after spring break for students of Bailey Station Elementary. Instead, there was a void you could drive a car through — or 70. That’s how long the Collierville parade was.

“We wanted to show them that we miss them,” fifth-grade teacher Toni Pugh told Daily Memphian columnist Geoff Calkins. “Teaching isn’t just about the curriculum. It’s about connection. Even though we can’t be together, we are trying to connect.”

Calkins noted how tenuous that connection could be, with the possibility of students not returning to classrooms this school year. “And while everyone likes to talk about online learning these days,” he wrote, “learning — especially at the elementary-school level — is most effective when combined with love.”

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