Shut Up and Teach, Pt. 2

Elijah Carbajal
3 min readApr 3, 2020

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We are living in history. That’s exciting! I mean, when was the last time we had a major pandemic that shut down restaurants, schools, barber shops and hair salons, tattoo parlors, bars, and other “non-essential” businesses? Did you ever think that we would be living in a time where grocery stores would have to open up senior hours because everyone else decided it was wise to hoard all the toilet paper? Did you ever think that we would live in a time where toilet paper would be hoarded? Crazy times. Exciting times. Scary times.

That means opportunities are waiting for us, as teachers.

When was the last time we were forced to teach kids over a Zoom call or Google Hangouts? For the vast majority of us, this is all very new. I know some teachers kind of freaked out at the thought of using technology to teach their kids. Not every teacher is tech savvy, in fact some teachers even reject using technology all together. Now that the Coronavirus has hit the world like a ton of bricks, teachers really don’t have the option to reject the technology. I have seen teachers push themselves out of their comfort zones. Teachers, once uncomfortable with incorporating tech in their classrooms now are posting assignments to Google Classrooms and jumping on Zoom calls with staff or students. Teachers with kids, who are expected to be available for their students most of the day and help their own children, are making it happen. (I see you, Mrs. Laws, Mrs. Rivera, Mrs. Magee, Mrs. Moore, Mrs. Schoon, Mrs. Wilkins…you are rock stars, even if you don’t always feel like it.)

Teachers across the world are stepping up and making sure that the relationships don’t die, that learning never stops. Despite all the struggles we faces (no tech, no WiFi, juggling family and work, taking care of our mental health, meeting expectations that sometimes change day to day, etc.) teachers have decided to shut up and teach.

See the shut up and teach mentality isn’t about ignoring your problems. It’s not pretending that the odds aren’t stacked against us. It’s about working through the mess we find ourselves in and doing our job to the best of our abilities. We are making this work for our kids’ sake. We are communicating with parents and families like never before. We are making sure that our students have devices to access the internet. We are making sure that our kids with no internet aren’t left out. We are continuing to create valuable lessons and projects for students. Even with some school districts placing, what seems like, unrealistic expectations on their teachers, they are working around it and making sure that they finish the school year with a bang! (After all this is over, no teacher should ever be referred to as “just a teacher”.)

Teachers are shutting up and teaching.

It’s because teachers are resilient. People are resilient. Think back to what you learned in history class. You learned about plagues, The Great Depression, wars, times of scarcity and famine, 9/11, and natural disasters. What have we learned about people during those times?…that they are resilient. Yes, there were hard and difficult times. The death toll of certain events in history is catastrophic. But men and women braved the unknown and made it happen. Teachers are doing that now. In the midst of a global pandemic, teachers are making history.

I can’t wait to see what kind of stories are told about the teachers who taught during this time. It will be exciting to read about the resilience of students and teachers who did their job. The beauty of teachers making E-Learning fun and engaging from their living rooms while they teach in their pajamas?…it’s exciting!

Teachers, you have decided to shut up and teach. You’ve decided to bring your A-game, and it shows. This isn’t what anyone could’ve foreseen, and it’s definitely not what we hoped for. You are making a difference whether you can feel it or not. You are important to your students, and your class wouldn’t be the same without you. Keep it up.

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Elijah Carbajal

Educator living and working in Albuquerque, NM. Author of “A Place They Love”. Lover of music. Host of “The Shut Up and Teach Podcast”.