From ‘One Room’ to ‘Zoom Room’: Do the Next Thing

By MINDY STANLEY

No, I didn’t really teach in a one-room schoolhouse, but I did use those purple, stinky ink mimeograph machines when I first started teaching school in 1975. Yes, you’re right—that’s before most of you were born!

And now I’ll learn to “Zoom”, because as Elizabeth Elliot so aptly puts it, “you do the next thing”. When you don’t know all of the answers, then just do the next thing.

First graders are doers, touchers, competitors, animators, singers, prayers, laughers, criers, chanters, HUGGERS and now they will be “zoomers”. It might not be the ideal way to operate a first-grade classroom, but for now it is “the next thing”.  And by His power and might He will equip us all as we move through this pandemic.

During Spring Break, on a Wednesday afternoon, I experimented with Zoom and every one of my students popped up on my screen. They were so excited to see their classmates, as were Mrs. Roberts and I. On a random afternoon our stories merged as we read The Golden Horseshoe and learned about other dark times in our state’s history.  We made it through slavery, family feuds and mine wars—just as we will (with and by God’s grace) “zoom” through this difficult time.

As I zoom in to this reality that so many are facing, the frustration and sadness of social distancing from my brick and mortar classroom diminishes.  Loved ones are sick and alone in hospitals; our medical professionals are putting their lives on the line for total strangers; self-employed individuals and small business owners are lacking paychecks, and our elderly are separated from their families who are the only source of keeping their stories alive. We are blessed to stay connected, even digitally, and we are blessed by our only true source of comfort: that our Lord is “zoomed” in on all of it.

There’s a Dr. Seuss parody floating around online that goes like this:

“I will teach you in a room

I will teach you now on Zoom

I will teach you in your house

I will teach you with a mouse

I will teach you here and there

I will teach because I care

So you just do your very best

And God will take care of the rest!”

I am excited to partner with my fellow “zoomers” (administrators, staff, students and, of course, parents). Parents, you didn’t sign up to homeschool, and you may feel inadequate when it comes to explaining diphthongs, digraphs, compound words and vowel patterns, but just know this: we will come alongside you and do the next thing.

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I would love to give a few shoutouts:

  • to the ZOOM company for allowing schools all over the country to use their resources (for free!)
  • to Franklin Norton for setting up all of Covenant Online for the faculty and the families
  • to our families for keeping the faith, showing up and zooming in!
Mindy Stanley has been teaching school for 43 years, the past 22 at Covenant. She loves working with young children and showing them how much fun learning can be. Mrs. Stanley’s goals for her classroom include instilling a love of learning, shepherding children’s hearts, and infusing a love for—and awareness of—Christ in all areas of life. She is regularly amazed at the progress and maturity demonstrated by six- and seven-year-old children. Mrs. Stanley is convinced that educating these students is “educating for eternity.”

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