We Are Sad; No More In-Person School in Kentucky

Emilie McKiernan Blanton

We will no longer have in-person school in Kentucky. We will continue Non-Traditional Instruction for the remainder of the year. While we know this is is the right call, we are still sad.

Teachers have a reputation for loving snow days and breaks. The thrill of a random Tuesday off because Mother Nature decided to blanket our streets in snow is nothing like this. Snow days end. Breaks help our students and teachers recharge before continuing learning. We know when they are and how long they last. We can get Blessings in a Backpack sent home. The majority of students in JCPS qualify for free or reduced lunch. The worry about where and how they will be fed is very real.

This is immensely different. No one becomes a teacher because they hate work. No one becomes a teacher because they hate children. We love our profession. We love our kids. We miss them desperately. We find ourselves thinking about them and the things they’d say. We miss the end of year activities. We miss watching our students ending their careers with us; the fifth graders, the eight graders, and the seniors who will move on without the appropriate goodbyes.

We are still adjusting to an NTI-based life. We will continue to reach out to students and families in the months to come. With NTI comes an entirely new set of hurdles as we try to do our best to help our students and ease their anxiety and stress.

These are unprecedented times. We know that we have to adjust our lives and our profession. That doesn’t mean that we don’t get to grieve what we and our students have lost. We know this is the right call, but we also know the sadness that we feel is real and valid.

In the months to come after this, may we as a commonwealth reassess what education needs to look like. Learning is not measured in standardized assessments or specified seat minutes. When the time came to completely turn our profession upside down, teachers across the nation rallied to provide some level of normalcy to our students. None of the remote learning will ever replace the very real relationships formed in the classroom. None of the remote learning can replace the climate and culture that exists in a school building, from sports and dances to clubs and painted wall murals, school is more than a series of activities designed to measure academic growth. School is a home and a family. For countless students across Kentucky, and across America, school is safety. May we remember these lessons as we create a new normal in a post-Coronavirus world.

But for now, we can be sad. We just miss our kids.

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