- Wendy Williams
May 15, 2020 -The End of Virtual Learning
Monday, March 16, marked the beginning of a new era for most of the metro-Atlanta families. It was the first day of Virtual Learning. In the beginning, I had no idea that we would finish out the school year online. I did not think that all educational systems would close. I did not know that there would be a shortage of toiletries, meat, or other grocery items. I had no clue that masks and gloves would be the new normal. I would never have imagined that small businesses or restaurants would close. I had no idea social distancing would require us to be six feet apart. I did not expect to take afternoon walks, bike rides, eat lunches with my family, hear their teachers teach lessons, or zoom with my clients daily.
As an Independent Educational Consultant, I attended webinars on higher education, virtual campus tours, regional meetings, and listened to a variety of podcasts about COVID19. My office doors on Bombay Lane closed, but my business ran from my dining room table. I continued to give advice and counsel families on their next ventures. I listened to fears and concerns from students and parents. I wrote blogs for my website and posted more articles on social media than ever before.
And here we are, May 15, 2020, the last day of school for many metro-Atlanta families. The Class of 2020 will not graduate in a typical auditorium or large facility this year. Instead, they have been honored by friends, family members, and educators in a different way. I have seen students dress in their cap and gown, walking down their driveways to accept their diploma from a parent. I have read Facebook posts and seen Instagram become filled with pictures of senior lunches, caps flying in the sky, or simply standing next to their college sign. The Class of 2020 has been honored by many, including the Hollywood stars.
2020 is a unique time in our history. I hope we will always remember this year, not for the fear it might have instilled in some of us or the anxiety it provoked. I hope that we can thank our parents, our significant others, our children, our educators, our grocery clerks, our friends, our neighbors, our healthcare workers, and whoever you turn to for support and guidance.
I hope you remember the time you spent with your family and all the things that you accomplished. My family painted walls, organized rooms, built furniture, created an outdoor living space, made a firepit, planted a garden, explored the neighborhood, and much more. Days were not perfect; we all had moments of sorrow, but we did it! We achieved so much during this time together. We have a new understanding of learning, thankfulness for living, and gratitude for friendships and community like never before.
I hope that each of you takes the time to write your story. Let yourself find your words that show how you learned, how you loved, how you lived during "social distancing." What was your school day like? Did you receive grades or have assessments? How did you interact with your peers, friends, or family members? What did you teach yourself? How did you learn? What was your motivation? What would you do if you could do it over again? Take some time to reflect and express your gratitude for 2020. Growth is in reflection, and what better time to reflect than the end of your academic school year.
On January 1st, I was hoping that 2020 would be the year for clarity. In actuality, I think it has been the year for clearer vision. I see more than ever before what I am truly thankful for in my life, and I hope that you, too, will find that 2020 has provided an opportunity to seek, find and show joy like never before.