Where I Stand: Students are rising to the challenge

By Karen Hicks

Teacher, PUSD

The alarm goes off, it’s another day. What day is it? Well, if the alarm is going off it must be a school day, so I’m up.

Three hours later, I’m in front of my computer and the Zoom chime starts ringing. The students are arriving. I greet them gently, recognizing that for many, mine might be the first voice they hear that day. They respond, usually in the chat, Good Morning Profe, Buenos Dias Profe.


I am happy.

Some have videos on, meaning that we can see their face, their home, their pets. Others don’t, and their first and last name is displayed where their video would be. As their teacher, I show my video. It’s a given. I have never wanted to be on tv, never wanted to be a public figure, so I am out of my comfort zone. But so are my students.

Some message me that their wifi is unstable, and they might get kicked out of the Zoom class. I know. It happens every day, every class, not just one student over and over but all of them at one time or another, including me. We all know the feeling — one moment the class is there, the next moment they’re gone. Panic! Where is everyone? What did I miss?

After check-in, class begins with review, followed by direct instruction, questions and answers, breakout rooms to practice with classmates, and the 50-minutes is almost up. It flies by.


We go over what they will be doing on their own, since I only see them two times a week.

They are mostly on their own, with teachers available to them online every afternoon and all day Friday, as we work to prepare for the next day and the next week.

In the afternoon, my computer begins receiving their completed assignments. They are doing it! They are successful! They are learning!

In the afternoon, I read what they write, and I watch their video demonstrations, and I am abundantly proud of their resilience and adaptability to this new format.

Their lives have changed dramatically, and not for the better. They did not win the lottery. Their world became unstable, and they are members of the least powerful group of people — children. They have no say in the decision-making process. They are told what to do and how to do it. And they are successful.


Our students are rising to the challenge. They will get through this and will keep going strong. They already appreciate what they once had, and they show promise of making this world a better place for you, and for me, and for themselves.

They are going to make it.