Whitefield Academy Blog
Face to Face: The Impact of In-Person School
I’d probably be correct in saying that face to face education is something that most of us never thought we would have to argue for. It was just a given. Of course our kids would walk into the school every day! But as we know now, that’s not always the case.
The back and forth across the U.S. in the Fall of 2020 left us with heads spinning, lots of questions, and few answers. Some schools, determined to open, put in long hours to find a way to make it possible. But why do the work? 2020 has proven that school CAN happen virtually, so why spend all the extra hours figuring out changes, tweaks, and alterations to make face to face learning a reality? At Whitefield, we knew that it was imperative to be in-person. While learning can happen alone in front of a screen, it happens better in a classroom with a teacher and peers. But even beyond the academics, we have seen the importance of face to face interactions for all of our students.
A huge part of third grade is learning how to work together. Whether it’s memorizing the 15+ minute long Sermon on the Mount as a whole class or working toward your group winning the most points at the end of the week, the third graders are learning crucial life skills that they wouldn’t be able to learn without physically being together. This example is going to sound like we totally have our act together as Christian parents, but I will assure you that is not the case! One morning last week I quickly read Psalm 4 to my girls as we were headed out the door. My third grader asked if she could write down Psalm 4:3b, “The Lord hears when I call to him.” We’ve been talking a lot about how she can talk to God when something in class is frustrating, so of course I said yes and she quickly printed it on a notecard. I asked her after school if she had liked having that verse with her and she said, “I gave it to my friend because she sometimes gets upset in class too.” You could have knocked me over with a feather. What a precious moment of face to face fellowship between young believers!
The athletic programs at Whitefield have fought tooth and nail to exist this fall and winter. Between the coaches, parents, and our amazing athletic director, 6th-12th graders have been able to be on the court, on the field, and on the lake glorifying God with how they use their bodies. Four of Whitefield’s seventh grade boys got to compete virtually in the highly esteemed Head of the Charles regatta this October. During the race, they were all in one boat together out on the water, and we could hear them yelling encouragements to each other, spurring one another on to work harder to get to the finish line. No screens. No headphones. Just four boys, a boat, and a lot of birds that they kept running into. Moments that are making them into stronger men, moments that they will never forget, and moments that couldn’t have happened if they weren’t together.
I was in our school kitchen recently cleaning a coffee pot from an open house event. While scrubbing, I noticed a few seniors coming into the kitchen; one poured himself a cup of coffee and another started making a cup of tea. I laughed and asked Mrs. Martin, our lower school music teacher and lunch manager, if the kids were stealing her drinks. She smiled and said, “It’s a really hard year to be a senior. I wanted to give them an opportunity to have something special. Plus it gives me an excuse to chat with them.” She’s certainly right about it being a hard year to be a senior. Events and benefits these kids have looked forward to since kindergarten have been altered at the best and cancelled at the worst. Even something small like a warm drink on a cold day is a tangible blessing, a touchpoint with a person who loves them. Other teachers have committed to doing special and unique things this year like a salsa dancing elective with Mr. Castro, morning coffee meet ups with Mr. Appling, disc golf with Mr. Metcalf, and outdoor retreats lead by Dr. McIntosh.
Not one of these moments is going unnoticed by our students. One senior looked at me this week and said, “I really appreciate everything our teachers are doing to make this year as normal as possible. My siblings are virtual at other schools, and I know how hard it is for them.” Let’s be honest, it has been hard for our teachers. But the work that has been done to make this school year in-person and as normal as possible is a GREAT work. God has blessed it, and He continues to allow us to glorify Him as we walk through the school doors every morning.
Do you have a future pre-k or kindergarten student who you are wanting to be in-person in the Fall? Be sure to sign them up for our Round-Up next week! Click below for more information.
Do you have an older student who is interested in transferring to a classical Christian school that is in-person? Come to one of our Open House events. Click below for more information.