Candace Sanders

Lauderdale County School District
Halls Elementary School
Halls, Tennessee
Candace Sanders, 6th grade educator

Lessons Learned

“The beautiful thing about learning is that no one can take it away from you.” – BB King

BB King’s words never spoke truer as they do in the year 2020. So many normal everyday life aspects were taken away from us unexpectedly. Attending school, running to the store, ball games, graduations, holiday celebrations, doctor appointments, visiting loved ones, and so many everyday occurrences that we once took for granted were taken from us in the way we once knew. The one thing that remained the same was learning could not be taken away from me, from you, or from anyone. My attitude towards learning could be altered, the way the school day looks could be altered, but the act of learning remained steadfast.

The start of the 2020-2021 school year looked different than ever before. My professional development days were full of learning new technology, lingo, and using multiple devices at once. Phrases like google classroom, zoom meetings, online learning, screen share, virtual learning, social distancing, and hybrid schedule were heard throughout the building. My start of the school year folder full of engaged ice breakers that I’ve used for ten years where students were interacting, socializing, high fiving were no longer allowed. Instead I was challenged with creating new socially distanced activities in which students could get to know each other from afar. My once highly engaged, exciting classroom was looking totally different than ever before, and I found myself rising to the challenge and enjoying it! Learning and navigating the new challenges was a breath of fresh air I didn’t realize I needed. I found myself simply thankful to be back in the school building- something I once took for granted.

My students and I have adapted to each curve ball been thrown at us from 6 feet apart and are eager to learn more than ever before. New technology in the classroom has helped bridge the gap in the hybrid schedule. The majority of students and their families have rose to the challenge of committing to their learning both in the building and in the remote setting. We have learned multiple lessons on patience, perseverance, and resilience together. My colleagues and I have filled in the gaps when and where needed. It’s not been easy, but it’s been rewarding. I continue to learn and grow each day and have learned many lessons along the way. 2020 has forced me to grow as an educator and for that I’m grateful. Learning can’t be taken away from me, my students, my colleagues, or you. Each and every day I learn something new, and I challenge you do to the same. Learning is beautiful and adaptable to all circumstances. Teachers all across the world had to adapt their mindset to support learning in the most creative ways. I’m proud to say teachers have done just that.