'Make Your Bed Every Day' and Other Advice From My Students
The best advice Octavia Wolf received has always come from her students. Here, her fifth graders share advice for keeping the faith, coping, and getting through this tough moment together.
Do you remember your first year of teaching?
If you’re anything like me, those days feel like a distant memory. The copier knows better than to jam up when I enter the room. I know the difference between the student who "needs" to go to the bathroom and the student who needs to go to the bathroom. I'm able to make informed decisions on the fly based on the plethora of experience and lessons I've taught, honed, and mastered.
Usually, spring means I’m in my element as a teacher. I know my students well and I have enough tools in my toolkit to address the unexpected. It’s a magical season where the successes sometimes appear to outweigh the failures. This year is different. The pandemic has robbed me of that season.
In an instant, I’ve found myself transported back to my first year of the corps. We have more questions than answers, not enough resources to go around, and we’re underprepared to instruct our students in this context. But, it’s that same growth mindset that we developed during year one that will allow us to overcome this new challenge.
If ever there was a time to give ourselves the grace and space to “fail forward” it’s now. Teach Like A Champion: Distance Learning Edition doesn’t exist (yet), but our passion, imperfect presence, and persistence are stronger than ever.
The best advice I’ve received throughout my teaching career has always come from my students. So, I called on the experts in my fifth-grade class to share their advice for keeping the faith, coping, and getting through this moment together:
Octavia Wolf is a 2014 D.C. Region alum and teaches fifth grade at West Education Campus in Washington, D.C. She is currently raising funds through Teach For America's Direct to Community Giving page to provide grocery store gift cards for families in need at her school.