online teaching, teacher appreciation

Teaching over Zoom can be rough. It's the little things…

I only have one Zoom meeting a week, and I find myself facing screen fatigue. I can only imagine the challenges that teachers have been continuously facing during this pandemic—overcoming tech issues, keeping the attention of multiple students from a distance, establishing a stimulating educational environment in a literally sense-less virtual space—all this with little help, and oftentimes even less appreciation.

But then again they don’t do it for the praise, they do it out of a genuine calling to help develop young minds. They certainly don’t do it for the pay.

Still, one group of students found the most heartfelt way to surprise their teacher, and it’s a powerful reminder of why education providers should get a “thank you” during this time.


At first, the teacher thinks that none of his students have their cameras on in order to be “cool.”

“Is that the new cool thing to do-not turn your camera on?” he innocently asks during an online class. “I’ve heard that in some classes, nobody turns their camera on, including the instructor.”

Clearly not this instructor. He’s the only one whose face is visible in a sea of Zoom squares.

Trying to laugh it off, he can’t help but ask, “Seriously is it my fault that you have your cameras off?” he’s met with an awkward silence.

Finally, someone speaks up. A student says, “Dr. Brown, we actually kind of wanted to do something.”

The cameras turn on, and instead of faces, the screen is flooding with handwritten notes of gratitude for Dr. Brown.

One of the most visible messages says, “thank you for making a difference every day.”

Moved, Dr. Brown says, “Oh, you guys…you’re gonna make me cry.” And he does.

The video inspired other people to share their own similar stories.

One person wrote, “During the early days of remote learning, I heard my daughter's history teacher trying everything in his power to just get the kids to respond to him saying "good morning, how are you?" Just....silence. Even if he'd call on them individually. All the cameras were off, despite him all but begging them to turn them on. And this was a teacher they LOVED during normal times…Teachers don't have it easy even on normal days...I can't imagine how hard it was trying to pivot to remote, then hybrid, then in-person....then remote....”

Another person added, “My husband is a teacher…Every day, he fights for his kids. Every day. He works longer hours than I do - even though my shifts are ten hours a day - and even as parents yell at him, the administration refuses to provide curriculum and instead gives busywork, and the pandemic makes it all but impossible to keep kids engaged, he keeps trying to give his kids the kindness, empathy, and understanding they deserve. Teachers are doing their utmost right now. Please, be kind to them.”

It’s hard out there right now, for everyone. But little acts of kindness like this really do make a difference. Here’s to a win for human connection.

Joy

Man uses TikTok to offer 'dinner with dad' to any kid that needs one, even adult ones

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud.

Come for the food, stay for the wholesomeness.

Summer Clayton is the father of 2.4 million kids and he couldn’t be more proud. His TikTok channel is dedicated to giving people intimate conversations they might long to have with their own father, but can’t. The most popular is his “Dinner With Dad” segment.

The concept is simple: Clayton, aka Dad, always sets down two plates of food. He always tells you what’s for dinner. He always blesses the food. He always checks in with how you’re doing.

I stress the stability here, because as someone who grew up with a less-than-stable relationship with their parents, it stood out immediately. I found myself breathing a sigh of relief at Clayton’s consistency. I also noticed the immediate emotional connection created just by being asked, “How was your day?” According to relationship coach and couples counselor Don Olund, these two elements—stability and connection—are fundamental cravings that children have of their parents. Perhaps we never really stop needing it from them.


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Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy asked his Senate colleagues the questions millions of Americans have after a mass shooting.

Another school shooting. Another mass murder of innocent children. They were elementary school kids this time. There were 18 children killed—so far—this time.

The fact that I can say "this time" is enraging, but that's the routine nature of mass shootings in the U.S. It happened in Texas this time. At least three adults were killed this time. The shooter was a teenager this time.

The details this time may be different than the last time and the time before that, and the time before that, and the time before that. But there's one thing all mass shootings have in common. No, it's not mental illness. It's not racism or misogyny or religious extremism. It's not bad parenting or violent video games or lack of religion.

Some of those things have been factors in some shootings, but the single common denominator in every mass shooting is guns. That's not a secret. It's not controversial. It's fact. The only thing all mass shootings have in common is guns.

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Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani wows audiences with his amazing musical talents.

Mozart was known for his musical talent at a young age, playing the harpsichord at age 4 and writing original compositions at age 5. So perhaps it's fitting that a video of 5-year-old piano prodigy Alberto Cartuccia Cingolani playing Mozart has gone viral as people marvel at his musical abilities.

Alberto's legs can't even reach the pedals, but that doesn't stop his little hands from flying expertly over the keys as incredible music pours out of the piano at the 10th International Musical Competition "Città di Penne" in Italy. Even if you've seen young musicians play impressively, it's hard not to have your jaw drop at this one. Sometimes a kid comes along who just clearly has a gift.

Of course, that gift has been helped along by two professional musician parents. But no amount of teaching can create an ability like this.

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