A message from Dean Laurie Elish-Piper

I’m finding it helpful to take a walk to get fresh air and exercise daily – even in the bad weather.  As my husband always tells me, there’s no bad weather, just bad clothing choices.
I’m finding it helpful to take a walk to get fresh air and exercise daily – even in the bad weather.  As my husband always tells me, there’s no bad weather, just bad clothing choices.

College of Education Team:

As we begin Week Five of working from home, I feel the need to apologize.

Last Monday, I shared a picture of my daffodils and proclaimed that spring had sprung at my house. What a difference 48 hours made!

If I’m the one who inadvertently made winter angry enough to drop the temperatures and the snow, I’m sorry! Look at the bright side, though: At least we didn’t have to brave the weather to commute into work.

Finding those bright spots is important as we continue to navigate this strange situation, which feels as though it’s drawing closer to us. When we started this COVID-19 journey, it seemed like it was somewhere else. China. Italy. New York. Now with the number of cases climbing in Illinois, Chicago, DeKalb and NIU, it’s clearly here.

Some of our College of Education colleagues have told us that their spouses or partners were laid off from work as their companies have temporarily closed. Some of our students have reported the unthinkable news that they or their family members have tested positive for the virus. And, sadly, some of our students have lost loved ones to the virus.

The gravity of this situation is hard to deny. Our way of life is changing, and what those lasting impacts will look like – the so-called “new normal” – is impossible to predict.

Laurie Elish-Piper’s daffodils in the Friday morning snow.
Laurie’s daffodils in the Friday morning snow.

But I choose to stay positive. I know you’ve heard this from others, yet it bears repeating: We will emerge stronger. This is a shared experience, one that is connecting us as human beings and bringing out the best in people. Neighbors and strangers alike are coming together, or working independently, to generously contribute to the greater good in whatever ways they can.

Nightly newscasts are looking for these moments, too, and tend to air them in the final minutes of their broadcasts. I encourage you to keep an eye out for those glimmers of hope and resilience.

Here in the College of Education, you’ll read today that some of our students are learning “on the ground” how a pandemic affects education and are developing models that will empower schools to effectively manage the next crisis and even enhance their operations for “normal” times. We also have more examples of how our student teachers and alumni are continuing to educate during COVID-19.

Yes, positivity remains – please look for it – and will carry us through. My daffodils are proof that better times are near, and no amount of snow can stop that.

My best,

Laurie

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