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Our Class is a Family by Shannon Olsen and Sandie Sonke

“My hope is that this book will help teachers strengthen the bond they have with their students, and that their students have with each other.” Shannon Olsen and Sandie Sonke, you nailed it! I’m confident in making the statement that Educators around the globe are engaged in a very personal, heart-wrenching battle against self. As the decision of in-person vs. hybrid vs. remote looms, educators are torn. At the core, we know what our students need. How will we be able to provide for the students and the families we serve in the midst of all of this uncertainty? Asked to prepare a list of an educator’s duties, the individual is most likely to note curriculum, lesson plans, and assessments first. However, as Olsen and Sonke so brilliantly voice in their book, development of the social/emotional domain is every educator’s priority. Without a well developed classroom community, classroom family, the power of the lesson is apt to fizzle. Over the past few months, as we’ve dealt with COVID-19 and all it entails, undoubtedly, family bonds have kept us afloat. Family, connections, home(the people we love, not the place) are the most important things in the world. When our students enter our classrooms, it is our expressed duty and purpose to welcome them, engage them, and, together, create a home away from home. Olsen’s methodical explanation of how and why we seek to create a classroom family, and Sonke’s deliciously diverse and whimsical illustrations capture the essence of every educator’s goal. On-line, or in person, this book is an excellent resource as we prepare to welcome students back for the 2020-2021 school year. It’s a must for every educator’s library.

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