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OPINION

These times bring gratefulness to mind

Ritchy Hitoto
Pratt Tribune
Ritchy Hitoto

Teaching and training young people during these  COVID-19 times, especially in the athletic programs, has taken on new meaning for many coaches, teachers and trainers.

As a new teacher and trainer at Pratt Community College, I look around and see how the leaders in our community have done a tremendous job working to ensure a safe and healthy environment for all of our students. 

The preparation for the fall semester began months earlier through multiple staff meetings, brainstorming sessions, adjustments, preparations, sanitization, indoor, outdoor work, etc. 

It was challenging, but we see valuable qualities emerging from the struggle. The main qualities that emerged from the groundwork produced from the spring semester’s remote learning experience up until now are unity, hard work, flexibility and most importantly, understanding.

The arrival of students for fall 2020 was welcomed with mixed emotions. First, the excitement to have the student community back on campus and second, nervousness to ensure that protocol put in place will both be followed and accepted. 

As far as, what will happen after Thanksgiving in November, it is hard to tell. Students and staff are well aware that flexibility and fluidity are key in that complex process. We have come to understand that every day, every week, every month is a victory and blessing.

Teaching sports medicine lectures as well as athletic training practicum classes is a real pleasure for me, in spite of challengin health and safety restrictions in place due to the current situation. 

Restrictions such as wearing of masks, maintaining of social distancing and limitating of numbers in classrooms requires constant attention. But most teachers agree that it is an honor, a privilege to interact, inspire, motivate and help student succeed in their academic endeavors no matter what the challenges.

More than ever, being an educator at this time is a vital and essential part of raising of children, youth, and future adults. 

Now more than ever before there is a shared feeling among all of us which is: Gratefulness.

In my heart there is gratefulness, to be able to teach, gratefulness to be able to see our students.

Myself and other coaches are grateful to be able to coach our teams, grateul for another practice, grateful for the opportunity to compete. 

Like never before, we are grateful to be able to inspire, grateful to be able to gather – in smaller numbers – but gather nevertheless. 

And beyond the school zone I am grateful to be able to worship; grateful for family and friends. Yes, some of us even fell grateful to be able to smile – through the mask – but smile nevertheless. 

While there may be those who not wish to be teachers or administrators at this time, I can say for many that first and foremost we are grateful to be able to build the next generation of leaders, workers, mothers and fathers to the best of our ability.

These may be trying times for educators and students, as well as those in many other professions, but it is these times that provide us with opportunities to be grateful.