UCAES Exercises Resourcefulness

December 22, 2021 | Education | Kristy Plata

The past couple of years have been a long exercise in persistence and resourcefulness. From school at home to in-person classes to virtual classes, Upper Columbia Academy Elementary School and so many of sister Adventist schools have worked faithfully for their students. Here are just some of the insights learned by the UCAES community:

  1. If you can’t do something familiar, try something else. 
    This past October, we weren’t able to hold our annual Apple Pie Fundraiser, so we threw a Fall Harvest Party instead. Students wore costumes, organized games and contests and ate an impressive amount of food. The ice-skating rink wasn’t open last winter, so one church member provided a pond and another had ice skates for each child. They were having so much fun playing hockey and experiencing old-fashioned ice skating out in nature, that we could barely drag the kids away from the ice. We drank hot chocolate afterward and finished our day with a Valentine lunch. We are embracing the new things that have come from the challenges we’ve faced. It has been a good time to introduce new trips and try things that can become part of a new normal. 
  2. School at home is different for every family. 
    Parents deserve a medal ceremony for what they accomplished when the students were sent home last year! At home during quarantine, some parents understandably struggled to get their kids to stay focused long enough to get schoolwork done. The lure of recess and the pressure of keeping up with their peers were not there to motivate some learners. On the other hand, some students more easily distracted in the classroom were better able to focus without their peers surrounding them. Parents had to develop their own strategies to motivate their children to continue their learning. Every family had their own unique challenges.
  3. Virtual learning is not a break for teachers. 
    It takes more work to prepare resources and plans for virtual learning than it does to plan a normal day of in-person school. Classroom resources are not available at home; everybody has to somehow get connected in order to see what the teacher is teaching. Our teachers decided to narrow their focus to the basics — reading, writing and arithmetic. They gave grace beyond measure for attendance at virtual classes and homework assignments, yet still somehow managed to help students make academic progress. After parents receive their medals, we’ll hand out medals to the teachers too!
  4. By increasing our capacity for flexibility, we learned that we could still achieve progress under challenging circumstances. 
    Parents, teachers, and students were overworked and out of their normal comfort zones, so we focused on what was truly important: our relationships with Jesus and the academic fundamentals. We found that grace went a long way, in both directions, as we traveled together through the new territory of distance learning. 

Wherever you are, whatever your situation may be with regard to school, we are praying for you: for your parents, students, and teachers.