#WhyITeachNow: To Make Education Personal for My Students


Allie Alejandra

by | 01.25.21

Allie Alejandra is a teacher in New York. Follow her on Twitter @iteachinspirEd.

If education doesn’t feel personal to my students, it won’t feel compelling or real – but if I can get them to connect with what they’re learning, I can inspire them to envision new possibilities for their lives. Getting students excited about their own voices and potential has always been my ‘why’ – and connection has always been my ‘how.’

This year, the pandemic has put so much distance between me and my students. I know the physical distance is a daily hardship for them, whether they’re learning behind masks, behind computer screens or juggling both – but what’s even harder is the emotional distance they’re experiencing. Every time I build a connection with my students, I reach across that distance to support and inspire their growth.

For one student, that means making time for a one-on-one check-in; for others, having a heart-to-heart over email. These moments of connection serve as a gentle encouragement for us all: to look for hope and speak it together, to find strength in getting through these days as a community – and above all, to keep growing. My students need to feel like there’s meaning in these days of learning, meaning in coming together across distance and difficulty and doubt. With each moment of connection, I can show them that THEY are the meaning. I can show them that their voices and possibilities are limitless.

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