It was the best of times.

Posted by Jonathon Wetherington on 3/22/2020 9:00:00 PM

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way--in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only.” - Paragraph 1 from Chapter 1 of A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens


Happy Monday!

I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend, and you are finding your new rhythm with digital teaching and the personal balance, space, and health. Let’s be honest, it’s been a long couple of weeks for everyone. We are all tired, stressed, and uncertain about the future. As I was reflecting about the uncertainty we face, I was reminded of the lines above from a Tale of Two Cities, which reminded me that at times like these, it is good to remember that there have always been trying times like these. So what do we do? The best advice I can give is that we need to keep moving forward.

During difficult times it can be helpful to have a focus…...a clearly defined purpose around helping others that allows us to put our energy and talents towards. A clearly defined purpose helps us focus downstream on the people who are depending on us instead of  looking upstream at what is coming our way.


This is my encouragement to each member of the Paul Duke STEM Community: Look to those in our school community we can help. How do we do that?

As a faculty and staff, I feel like our purpose during these Digital Learning Days (DLD) is clear.  We all need to do just two things on a consistent and constant basis. What two things you ask? These two things:

  1. First, we need to help our students make academic progress and not regress.  Essentially, all external accountability is gone, except for AP classes. For most of our classes and students, the goal is NOT about keeping up with other schools or test scores or grades. Our goal is moving our students forward. I estimate that around 25% of our students have true barriers to digital learning, and we have to keep this in mind while we work toward our goal of moving ALL OUR students forward. 
  2. Second, we need to take care of our students and each other.  Our students did not ask for this, and we have to figure out how to ensure this does not hurt our students and their grades long-term. 

I am so proud of what our school did last week! I am so proud of how each of member of our community stepped up and worked tirelessly to help our students get off the ground with DLD.  Getting through this crisis, for both teachers and students, is going to require resilience, compassion, innovation, human connection, and learning together like never before. It’s also going to require a generous and understanding mindset from everyone. If we focus on students’ growth and progress and taking care of each other, we will look back on this time as one of our greatest both individually and collectively.   

Do not focus on keeping up with others. Focus on keep moving forward!