Teachers and students in Edmonton are finding it pretty lonely not returning to classrooms together. But some messages of hope are shining through, making this first week back to empty schools a little easier for teachers.
Sweet messages were left by students, parents and family all over the doors at St. Mary Catholic School in southwest Edmonton’s Riverbend area.
Kathleen Eistetter, a Grade 5 teacher at the school, said she’s never experienced anything like it in her 30-year plus career.
“I saw that the doors were covered with beautiful coloured hearts, with messages of love and joy from the children who are missing coming to their school everyday — it actually made me feel like crying,” Eistetter said.
“Lots of missing you, thinking about you. Lots of thanks.”
The feelings expressed on the notes are mutual for the staff at the school.
“I’m really missing the 350-plus boys and girls at St. Mary. It’s very lonely — a school is really just a building when the children aren’t there,” Eistetter said.
Now the classrooms at schools are empty and the connections between students and teachers are virtual. That’s why principal Marcel Evaristo says messages like the ones left on the doors mean that much more.
“Whether we’re out on supervision, greeting students off the bus or at the end of the day, sending them off on the bus, we always get that interaction,” Evaristo said.
“So these messages are just that little piece of interaction that we’ve been missing for the last week here at school.
“We miss their presence here at our school, they do every single day bring us joy, they inspire us to be the best we can be as educators.”
Students and staff are showing appreciation for what they had since it’s been gone.
“I think this is the silver lining, that we’re realizing how much the kids depend on the relationships with their classmates daily, and with their teachers,” Eistetter said.
Educators and students now moving forward together, creating new routines online while still finding a way to personally say “thank you.”