We can accomplish amazing things in education
We can accomplish amazing things in education
Posted on 08/22/2020
Kristine in her home classroomKristine Verbrugge
Burr Elementary

How long have you been a teacher?

I have taught for 22 years.

How are you preparing/prepared for starting the school year?
I have actually been preparing all summer by reading and taking as much online training as I can. Since we heard that we will begin in a remote mode, I've been doing a lot of thinking about how the first week will look, because I really want to meet individually with each family and get to know everybody as much as possible very early on. I've also been making plans for making videos for my kiddos. I had a great time making videos for my class in the spring; it gave me an opportunity to take my class to different places and do activities with living things we would ordinarily have done in the classroom. So now I'm looking at fall video ideas. My first thought when we learned we'd be remote was, "Yay! I get to take my kiddos to the pumpkin patch!"

What is something important you learned about yourself as a teacher during the shutdown?
I learned that I love a challenge. I learned that we can accomplish amazing things in education, despite huge challenges. I learned that children can learn a lot even when they can't be with their teacher, and that I can help them do that. I learned that I LOVE to teach little kiddos, and I love being excited about teaching and learning. I learned how to make videos about things I love to learn about (and dragged my family into the recording and editing business!). I learned how to learn from my students; they taught me so much about differentiation, learning, and how to be a better teacher. I learned that so much is possible when we think outside the box.

What would you say to parents/students who my be uncertain about the start of the year being remote?
I understand the disappointment about not being able to be together in person yet. I am disappointed too. But we are going to do the best we can to get to know each other in a way that is safe for right now. I'm looking forward to meeting with my families online in the first few weeks, and getting together with my little friends in small groups so we can all get to know each other. I can't wait for us to explore learning together no matter where we are, and to get excited about things like ants and apples or pumpkins and life in the past. And when it is safe, and we don't have to worry about anyone getting sick, we will be able to see each other at school, keep going with that same learning, and have fun together.

Anything else you think is important to share with families/the community about the new year?
This is a challenging time for everyone, but challenges give us the opportunity to grow, to make positive changes, and to make a difference for one another. I am looking forward to this year with excitement. I can't wait to see what we can reimagine about teaching and learning, and what new heights we can achieve together.