It's going to be essential this school year to foster connection with students in some specific and personal way... as thinkers... beyond the superficial.
To connect with students, teachers will have to create space and opportunity for students to share thoughts that are substantive thus providing the teacher with the chance to say in an authentic way: "I see. Please, tell me more."
Without the element of a meaningful cognitive connection to the learning environment (virtual or otherwise), too many students will pretend to be engaged without actually venturing forth any consequential intellectual investment. The momentum that matters most is developed through and with the aid of cognitive engagement.
One meaningful thought offered by students—in light of the stress owing to pandemic and protest—is worth more than 10 submitted assignments completed while going through the proverbial motions. It is the on-ramp to connection that may be sustained throughout the certain challenges of the school year to come.