- Tempe Union High School District
- TUHSD Newsroom
As the second quarter draws to a close, we wanted to take this opportunity to celebrate all of the amazing teachers and staff we have had the privilege of highlighting over the past 16 weeks by presenting a #WordsofWisdomWednesday Wrap-Up. Our TUHSD community has experienced a wild amount of change in this time period between virtual and hybrid models, and adjusting to the physical and emotional distance that this pandemic has created for everyone.
The campaign originally started as a first quarter effort to share the insights and observations of our teachers at Tempe Union High School District as they have continued to demonstrate incredible resilience and care in designing virtual lessons and identifying ways to build community with their students and colleagues. From our first feature, Nick Taylor, who shared as the virtual school year approached teachers had to rely on one another beyond the classroom; “Not only did we focus on preparing the curriculum, but we spent a good amount of time re-assuring each other that everything was going to be OK. That is one of the great parts of belonging to a community-- we can take turns being strong for each other.”
To our third Cheryl Januzzi, who shared a personal look into how COVID-19 took an emotional toll on her at the start of the school year by stating "My emotions were all over the place. I was beyond excited to get back to some sort of normalcy and to be able to meet my students. They are why I do this job- so I was quite eager to meet them, start interacting with them, and to learn from them. I was also quite overwhelmed with all of the unknowns and logistics that we would be having to deal with. I was nervous about not being as prepared as I normally would be. Along with my professional responsibilities and unknowns, I've also been concerned about the health and safety of my family and friends. Needless to say, I've had more than one sleepless night.”
As TUHSD shifted to a hybrid model, the challenge of engaging with students both present and online still remained. Our twelfth feature, John Belkis, provided a heartfelt insight into some of the challenges teachers and students have faced; “The biggest challenge I face is with the few students who are apathetic despite various communications with home. Some families have more assets and are better equipped to support their students. I presume that many of the students who are disengaged also are from families that are struggling economically or otherwise due to the pandemic. I continue to reach out and offer support. When students have arrived after being absent for many weeks, I welcome them and let them know that I will work with them so that they can earn credit and, of course, master the learning targets.”
Our final feature was Alicia Cox, one of our District CTE Content Specialists. She offers words of wisdom regarding building meaningful and intentional relationships by sharing "You're not expected to save the world but you can save YOUR world. Build individual relationships BEFORE building content demands. The content will ALWAYS be there, but the moments to build relationships with students are fleeting opportunities. Make the most of these."
While this semester has brought challenges that no one could have ever imagined, #WordsofWisdomWednesday has allowed us to share out about the amazing teachers and staff in our TUHSD family and how they are working together to remind our students and families that we are never emotionally distanced from each other.
All past #WordsofWisdomWednesday features: