▶️ ‘I cried’… School closure hitting local teachers hard

By ANYSSA BOHANAN
CENTRAL OREGON DAILY

“I cried,” said Jaime Speed, a 4th and 5th-grade teacher at Juniper Elementary in Bend. “I could cry now.” 

Gov. Kate Brown’s announcement Wednesday, that Oregon schools will remain closed for the rest of the year, was expected. 

But for educators, it didn’t make the reality any easier.

“Seeing our kids and being with our kids is really important to us, and we worry about them,” Speed said.

“We’re really bummed, we really thrive on working with our kids,” said Sisters School District Vocal Music Director Rick Johnson. “As a music teacher, I was really looking forward to having my year-end concerts and celebrating the seniors as we always have.”

“The sad thing for me is that we’re no longer going to be able to celebrate all of the awesomeness that happens in our building,” Silver Rail Elementary Library Media Manager Ann Marie Anderson said.

Education will continue to take place virtually, a new normal that has, and likely will continue to take some getting used to.

“Unfortunately technology isn’t that great when you have a bunch of people trying to make sound into a Zoom or a Google meeting!” Johnson said. “It’s probably not going to sound all that great while we’re doing it, but the kids are going to continue learning.”

“It’s been great to be able to connect that way,” said Speed. “It’s just not as authentic as it is in the classroom.”

Even with the rapid changes and uncertainty, many are looking to the positives in the current situation.

“I was invited to a virtual class with a 3rd-grade cohort and just seeing all of their faces and having them all wave at me was so amazing, so special,” Anderson said.

“I’m kind of looking forward to finding a new way to do all of this,” Johnson said.

And though they can’t be there in person, every educator’s message to students is no matter what happens, they’re here.

“We can do it, I know we can if we all pull together, and help one another, and stay communicating,” Anderson said.

“I think we can have a lot of fun this way with learning music and sharing beauty in a time of a little bit of darkness,” Johnson said.

“We are here for your success and we love you,” Speed said.

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