by Chip Welch
At The Habersham School, we often say, “It’s good to be me here with you.” This statement speaks to the type of relational atmosphere we seek to foster between our faculty and students as well as parents. Our teachers emphasize establishing and maintaining an atmosphere of joy where learning and discovery can flourish. We partner with parents to educate children, not simply to gain admittance to the best college or university, but to equip them for life, helping them discover who God made them to be. These are lofty and ambitious goals, one’s that are difficult to achieve under the most normal of circumstances. Obviously, COVID created new challenges in this regard, thus, this sentiment has never felt more true since returning to in-person learning in August.
Much like everyone else, we moved instruction online last spring with the onset of the coronavirus. With gratefulness, I watched as our administrators and teachers began to navigate these “unprecedented” waters with nimbleness and grace and our parents respond with patience and gratitude. Overnight, Zoom became the new norm. Our children’s classrooms became our kitchens and living rooms. And 2-D images on a screen became our new community.
Like everyone else, we jumped into the questions of how are we to partner with parents given COVID? How are we to rightfully equip our students? But further, how are we to create an atmosphere of joy? Was it really still “good to be me here with you?” Our faculty and staff began to wrestle with how to adequately fulfill our mission amidst these extraordinary challenges. At Habersham, we focus on the very human relationship between the student and the teacher. We approach the use of technology with intentionality as its benefits are many though its challenges are real. We cherish our time together, knowing that the years our children spend at Habersham are profoundly impactful on who they will become. Thus, through ample FaceTimes, and Zoom classes, together with good ole fashion phone calls, we stayed connected as a school community, and in many instances came out the stronger for it all!
The education of a child is a humbling opportunity and given the new challenges we all face due to COVID, there are still many questions that remain unanswered. But upon returning to in-person schooling in August, I know one thing for sure… It is good to be me here with you, Habersham. This is no new thought, but it is now unmistakably known that this is at the very essence of our being, both as a school and as individuals created in the image of God.