Friday, December 3, 2021

Tommie Barfield Packs Up Students Belongings for a Sad and Unusual Goodbye

Photos by Jory Westberry | TBE students’ belongings have been gathered, packed, and assembled for parent pickup starting from May 29th to June 2nd.

Never in our wildest dreams, nor our worst nightmares, did we ever, EVER, think that a pandemic would affect us in this country. And now we are in the middle of it with the end hopefully insight. Then again, is the end still a possibility? And with three months of online learning behind us, with no classroom interaction, this has affected our studentsteachersstaff and parents in profound ways. 

Beyond the pressure to deliver quality lessons aligned with the curriculum at short notice, learn the computer programs to teach those lessons and deliver them to meet the needs of the students in one’s class is a challenging task to say the least. And now, belongings are being taken out of desks, packed up by teachers and staff, and placed in an orderly line on the cafeteria floor by teacher and grade level in ABC order for pickup by parents on designated days. Parents/guardians have been informed of the procedure to pick up their children’s belongings from schools.  

Pickup starts on May 29th. There will be no entrance into the school cafeteria, so parents/guardians will drive into the east parking lot by the cafeteria, give the names of students to the person stationed outside, who will relay the information via radio to the “runners” inside the building. They will locate the child(s) possessions and the contents will be delivered to the car by gloved hands and masked faces in sealed plastic bags to ensure protection for both parties. 

Sadly, this is not the farewell to a school year that teachers and students have experienced in the past, but TBE teachers have incorporated personal touches into virtual learning and into their goodbyes.

The unseen, unknown consequences of a crisis like this is that there are important trusting relationships between teachers and students that are interrupted, broken and shattered. The yearning for those trusted bonds is poignant by both teachers and students. Education may never look or be the same, the future remains a mystery since we have never encountered a pandemic like this in our lifetimes. Time will tell.  

As they wait for “time to tell,” teachers, administrators and staff are doing the best for their educational charges so they weather COVID19 the best that they can. The teachers at TBE have kept in personal touch with their students through video conferencing, phone calls, written notes, signed their yearbooks and done whatever in their power to maintain the positive relationships that inspired their commitment to education in the first place.  

Is it insurmountableAgain, only time will tell, but you can bet the teachers at TBEother Collier County Public Schools and schools across the nation are doing their very best to overcome the challenges that have stymied the pathways to authentic teaching/learning and positive relationships that should last for a lifetime. 

This is new territory and we are all faced with unique challenges on a daily basis, especially teachers and parents. The way we react is vital to the ways your children/students will respond to the challenges, now and in the future. We can help pave the way to their future successes by modeling flexibility, perseverance and tolerance rather than anger, irritability and frustration. These are normal feelings, but in the end, what do we want our children to learn from a challenge as big as this one?  

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