May 23, 2020

Students’ Parents Say They Value Adventist Teachers During COVID-19

Colloquially known as Black Summer, this year of 2020 began with a devastating bushfire season in Australia — 46 million acres (18.6 million hectares) burned, 5,900 buildings destroyed, 34 people and 1 billion animals killed.

It could have been a lot worse if it weren’t for our firefighters, who toiled night and day to save land, lives, and livestock. Our firefighters deserve to be heralded and honored for their work.

On the heels of Black Summer came COVID-19. Handshakes were banned, hugs out of the question, and if you wanted to get a seat to yourself, all you had to do was offer a slight sniffle or deliver a slight cough and you were afforded the wide-open spaces.

During this pandemic, a new set of heroes emerged — another army being mobilized all across the land. Quietly they move into position, resolutely staying at their post, often day and night. They aren’t lawyers, politicians, academics, elite sportspeople, or A-list celebrities, but rather teachers, nurses, doctors, ambulance personnel, cleaners, supermarket workers, service station operators, branch tellers, warehouse employees, toilet paper manufacturers. These people became the frontline troops in the battle against COVID-19.

If it weren’t for those who toiled night and day to save lives, loans, and pantries, it could have been a lot worse. These deserve to be heralded and honored for their work.

The Role of Adventist Teachers

Our school administrators, teachers, and chaplains are heroes in their own right. Parents and students deserve honorable mention as well.

When our Adventist schools were not closed, some people criticized. When the decision was finally made to close, still some criticized. As the days marched on, however, two things soon became apparent. First, the timeframe for the decision to act was the right one; and second, our school leaders, teachers, and chaplains are doing an incredible job to educate the students in their care.

For the past few weeks, many of us have sat back and watched an amazing series of events unfold in online teaching, evangelism, and pastoral care to the students and families of our 48 schools across Australia. Key descriptors come to mind: creative, resourceful, brilliant, patient, professional, dedicated, conscientious, diligent, enthusiastic.

What our teachers and chaplains have done in our education system throughout lockdown and isolation has been remarkable. They delivered school lessons online; chapel programs have continued to inspire and encourage; and Bible studies have been brought into kitchens and dining rooms all over Australia. Teachers and chaplains sang songs and offered prayers. Videos and comments float back and forth between schools and their fans, and fans and their schools.

Among the comments from parents:

I am completely blown away by all your hard work. After this pandemic, I will be shouting from the rooftops about how amazing this school is.”

You are deeply appreciated. Thanks for redeveloping material, and platforms for remote learning. Thanks for being like uncles and aunties, as well as our kids’ teachers. You are more than teachers; you love and mentor our young men and women.”

The extra workload has been enormous. I work in a school myself and understand that the out-of-hours workload has now tripled. The college has been supportive, encouraging, and communicative at every step. The staff is regularly checking in with both our children to ensure they are coping with this learning platform. This hasn’t gone unnoticed. Both my husband and I appreciate the huge sacrifice the staff has made.”

The college has gone above and beyond in organizing and delivering our take-home packs, and we are just so grateful! As a family, we would love to bless the Primary staff and show our gratitude.”

I’ve been in awe of how you've all handled this crisis. The Holy Spirit was obviously guiding you all with this new system, as it seemed flawless from our end. It might have been the proverbial swan paddling away under the water, but it appeared like you'd always done things this way.”

These are just a handful of the responses from parents to our Adventist schools in Australia. Under these trying circumstances, our school communities could have easily descended into gloom and doom. Instead, it’s been a time of Zoom and boom, all thanks to the efforts of our sensational army of educators.

The original version of this story was posted by Adventist Record.