HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – Hartford teachers got their annual pre-season pep talk on Thursday morning. With the start of school just two weeks away, News 8’s Kent Pierce was at this year’s Convocation.
Every year at this time, Hartford gets teachers from all the public schools together in one place for something they call Convocation. Part of it is planning out the year for the teachers. The other part is a good, old fashion pep rally.
Before teachers march back into their classrooms, the superintendent wants them to remember what it means to truly be back in the classroom.
“Priority is that we re-establish and deepen relationships, relationships with students, relationships with ourselves, with our adult peers, with our families and our community,” said Dr. Leslie Torres-Rodriguez, Hartford Schools Superintendent.
Dr. Torres-Rodriguez says the district has really faced three pandemics in the last year and a half: COVID-19, the economy, and racial injustice. Schools have to help kids deal with all of them.
“To address all of the interruptions that happened, not only academically, but in terms of their social development as well, which is why we’re having an emphasis on relationships,” Dr. Torres-Rodriguez said.
Starting what is now the third school year impacted by the pandemic, the advice is to keep a smile on your face even if it’s hidden behind a mask.
“You are the key to their success. Students may not remember what you say, but they will always remember how you made them feel,” said Carol Gale, Hartford Federation of Teachers President.
While the superintendent can plan out this next academic year, she says the long term effects of the pandemic on children is not going to be fully understood for years to come. That, she says, is what keeps her up at night.