BAP087 Texas Blizzard Reflections

I recorded this episode at the end of a historic winter storm in Texas.  This week, we faced record-low temperatures for several days and our state’s electric grid operator lost power supply control. Other power sources failed as well and soon, almost everyone I knew in Texas was without water.  Many were without heat or water and living through multiple days of freezing temperatures.

You can listen to the show right here:

Listen to “BAP087 Texas Blizzard Reflections” on Spreaker.

Our family was fortunate.  We went without water for several days but this was nothing compared to what others have suffered through this crisis.  Family and friends are dealing with ruptured water pipes inside their homes.  People were scrounging for firewood and some resorted to burning their furniture.  Stores were closed or out of food.  A nursing home in our area had to evacuate 500 residents when they had no power or water.  Roads were too dangerous to make attempts to leave.

Despite the threat of CoVid, we took in different friends and their pets.  We felt fortunate to be able to offer shelter but everyone in our full house felt helpless and distraught as each day brought news of more winter storm-related deaths in our area.

Want to help Texas winter storm victims? Here are things you can do. 

In this episode, I reflect on the fact that my situation was a minor inconvenience compared to the hardship of others.  My thoughts turned not only to the Texans living through this nightmare but also to the students that I have served over the years.

As I thought about the refugee families in our area, I remembered how they weathered another tragedy we faced in Houston a few years ago.  That storm, Hurricane Harvey, also caught the attention of people around the world. This blogpost offers my reflections from that experience.  That post offers a perspective on teaching refugees and immigrants after such a terrible event.

Thank you again to Rola Tibshirani (@Rolat) & Dora DeBora (@DoDeBoer1) for guiding your students to reach out to us.

Similar questions come up as we face this new disaster.  As educators, many of us wonder how we are supposed to support our students during a time like this.

How are we supposed to get through this blizzard?

How are we supposed to get through this pandemic?

How are we supposed to get through this horrific school year?

You’ll hear me talk about:

  • Resilience
  • Perseverance
  • Community  & Collaboration

At one point, I posted on Facebook that we were melting snow for water. A refugee family in our area, who have seen unimaginable hardships, reached out to offer to bring us water.   We refused this kind offer, but it goes to the heart of community.   A few years ago so many refugees came to our area and we did not know how to help them.  Now they are helping us.

As an educator, I lift you up because I know your job is incredibly difficult.

I honor your efforts and I ask that you challenge yourself to look forward.  When you are not sure how to help a student with low levels of English or literacy due to lack of opportunity, remember that they are not dealing with a disability.  Focus on making SLIFE feel safe and included.  Make them comfortable so that their assets begin to be revealed.

I feel strongly that cooperative learning is our best bet to build confidence, relationships, and competence.  I have been quoting Cohan, Honigsfeld & Dove (2020) in recent workshops along with Vygotsky and other authorities on the power of teaming up and being social.

I saw so many parallels this week.  I watched my community, my city, and the world come together to help us move forward.

We are always better together.

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Comment here or reach out on Twitter or Facebook.   You can also email me at carolsalva1@gmail.com

Thank you for stopping by.

Carol

 

6 thoughts on “BAP087 Texas Blizzard Reflections

  1. Carol, hang in there. Please know your words are an inspiration to us even when they come from a place of hardship. I have been thinking about the prior knowledge and talents my ELL students bring to their classes. I want to acknowledge these things and celebrate them. I’m meeting with 4th and 5th graders this week to seek their input on how to celebrate these competencies of resilience and flexibility that they have brought with them to our school. How has that helped them weather this school year? How can they transform this prior experience/knowledge into leadership in their classes for students dealing with a year such as this?
    Please know you are shining warmth on us even when the weather is not.

    Sara

    • Sara,
      Thank you for your kind words and for your obvious passion! We are all good here. I’m so inspired by your efforts with your 4th & 5th graders. I had a lot of success inviting our immigrant students to come up with volunteer projects. They said that they were proud to give back to their community. This is one way they can show leadership also.
      Thank you for lifting up these students. They won’t let you down.
      HUGS!
      Carol

  2. What many in Texas are dealing with is a comparison to what many of our students must deal with, lack of experience due to their situation. I’m certain most Texans never gave much thought to insulating pipes to prevent freezing.
    I try to give my students the opportunity to shine by teaching me about things that I have not had the opportunity to experience. When I respond, “I didn’t know that. Tell me more.” The doors open and a wall comes down.

    • Elizabeth, what a beautiful thing you do regularly with your students. “I try to give my students the opportunity to shine by teaching me about things that I have not had the opportunity to experience.” That exemplifies the way we can connect with any child. They each bring unique background. I love that you point out that walls come down at that point. Beautiful! And I agree 100%, our lack of experience with this situation last week really offers us an opportunity to reflect on what that is like. It’s not that I’m not smart or that I can’t learn about cold-weather preparedness. I just didn’t have that experience… yet. Thank you, Elizabeth.

  3. Wow! This is what humanity is all about, isn’t it? People show up. They show up! So many folks have shared photos, comments, and ways to help our friends in Texas. These are the times when we see humanity…and we see the good! Please know that I’m saying prayers for all and know that YOU WILL GET THROUGH THIS! Thinking of you all and much love from Southeast Missouri!
    Lana Piner, ELD Specialist, Jackson R2 Schools

    • Lana, thank you so much for reading this and for your thoughtful reflections. You are SPOT ON! They DO show up. Our community showed up and it continues to be so inspiring. My family is fine and some of the lucky ones. But still, your prayers and message mean so much, Lana. Thank you!

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