Last week, the City of Camarillo, CA was covered with smoke and ash. A wildfire was burning 28,000 acres of City land, State Park, and Federal Lands. The local Cal State campus was evacuated. 4,000 homes were evacuated. Sikorsky helicopters flew over our school for two days. Above was the view on Thursday, May 2, the morning the fire broke out. By Friday morning, the winds had shifted, covering our school in ash and keeping us indoors. It was not fun at all. Parents called, concerned for the safety of their children. We monitored the Fire Department website and had the local news channel streaming in our office. We sent out all calls to parents and continuously updated our website and Facebook page to make sure that parents knew their children were safe and that we were staying on top of the situation.
Meanwhile, inside our classrooms, our teachers carried on as if it were a normal day. Had it not been for the putrid smell of ash and the strange orange skies, the students at La Mariposa may have been unaware of the disaster unfolding. Inside one of our classrooms, this happened:
Students worked together to create murals that will become part of our Open House Art Gallery. While 1,000 fire fighters battled the blaze just a few miles away, our teachers bravely ignored their fear and anxiety. This poster comes to mind for me
That is just what our teachers did. Committed professionals making the best of every circumstance, ensuring that kids feel safe. As we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week, it is important to recognize the innovative instructional strategies and the way teachers make learning fun.
More importantly, teachers need to be recognized for the basic, yet crucial role they play in the development of our children. Sometimes, we need to stop and smell the flowers, even as the smell of ash pervades the air.