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Dear Students

March 17, 2020

I miss you!  Today was the day, I was planning to have cookies, cocoa, and tea to welcome you back to campus and to hear of all the great things you learned while completing your spring break.  Whether you were practice teaching for pre-student teaching, traveling with families or athletic teams, or just simply taking a respite, I couldn’t wait to hear your stories and see you smile while sharing them. Even though I have told you this before second only to my children and “grandchildren” you are my world and I felt it was important for me to share this with you today. I am disappointed my welcome back party is not how we are going to spend our day today.

STEM center

I am so sorry we are facing uncertain times full of unknowns, but there are two things that will remain steadfast – my love for you and my commitment to help you reach your dreams.  This crazy world we live in needs your talents, your big ideas, your hopes for a better future.  While I don’t know all the steps forward or backward we will take in the next few days or weeks, what I do know is there will be a plan.

The hard part is as future educators, social workers, justice officials, entrepreneurs, and business management professionals we tend to be planners.  But how do we plan when it seems the rules keep changing?  The tough true is we wait.  As hard as it is, we have to also have trust and faith that the decision-makers are working in all of our best interest. Just know that is my daily prayer for all those tasked with making the tough decisions on what to do next.

In our personal waiting time, we can be proactive with our thoughts and our time.

Reconnect with someone through a letter or card in the mail, an email, a phone chat or text, or even an online platform.  I ask that you intentionally love each other in these classes, by checking in on a different classmate each day. Be purposeful in connecting.

While lots of events have been cancelled and businesses ordered closed, this virus hasn’t cancelled nature. I am doubling down on my commitment to getting you outside and right now some fresh air might add some much-needed perspective and time for self-reflection.  There are loads of other things not cancelled like music, books, journaling, doodling, playing games, kindness, hope, and dreaming.  Enjoy things that you might have forgotten how much you once loved in our busy lives, but that are still hallmarks of living well.

Be wise with your interactions and be thoughtful of those at higher risk. Due to having asthma, I am one of those people who needs to make some tough decisions about physical isolation and limited interactions. You all know how much I love a classroom full of people; so this is going to be a tough wait for me.

While I may have to be physically remote, what this virus cannot do and what it will not do is erode how deeply I care about each of you.  While I would much rather be in the classroom with all of you, this virus will not change my work ethic to deliver to you the best I have to offer in terms of your education and life. Thankfully, I have the ability and the skills to move my classes to an online format which is what we will do going forward for now.

I know there about a bazillion and one “What if” questions.  Believe me, I have some too.  As more direction regarding specific cases comes to light, I will be certain to share them with you all.  I know it is tough to wait and to not know, but hopefully we all know more very soon.  So what do we do in the meantime?

Even though we are on extended spring break, look ahead and keep working on any long-range assignments in my classes.   When we do resume instruction, I will still utilize our course’s checklist and use our content area for sharing resources about our topics.  For my education students, we won’t be able to gather together to complete science investigations, but I will strive to find similar ones that can be conducted from home using items you most likely have on hand.  I will make videos to share instruction, and if there is enough availability, I will attempt to host my office hours online via Zoom and at the very least using instant messenger in our course. I’ve heard there might be some limitations on how many can be on Zoom at a time; so, we will be conscientious of that and work around it.  For my AOS Scholars, we will determine a plan to support your academic success in science as soon as we know the steps others are taking.

So what won’t we be doing in this waiting time?

We aren’t going to panic.  We aren’t going to lose hope.  And we aren’t going to forget who we are! We are the SMSU Mustang family and we always take care of each other.  It’s who we are.  It’s what we do.  It is as ingrained in us as is our genetic code. The family atmosphere at our university is what defines us and it is what makes earning a degree from here so incredibly special.

If (or should I say, when) there are rough moments.  Get outside for some fresh air. Reconnect with someone and tell them how much they mean to you.  Remember that in addition to the traditional methods of contacting professors, you all have my personal cell phone number.  You can reach out for the big stuff, the little stuff, and all the ordinary stuff in between.

But most importantly: I’m thinking of you. I and every other educator (at all levels) that I know are planning for how to help you and all the students around the country succeed.

Even though we don’t have all the answers today, we’ve got this!

We have a world to change!

I miss you.  I LOVE you all!

Professor K (also known as Miss Kandy)


  1. This is a very heart-warming post… As a high school student currently doing self-isolation, I have high respects for the teachers who go out of their way to keep on providing us with the best study materials and anything that can keep us going through this 2 weeks period! Wish you all the best, i hope you can get to meet your students too!

    • Thank you for your kind words. I am completely biased, but I think teachers are some of the most amazing people in our societies. I also have extreme admiration for the students of today who I believe will be world changers. Wishing you all the best during the isolation period. As I always tell my students, stay curious! Shalom.

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