UNION, NJ – A third-grade Hannah Caldwell Elementary School teacher wanted to write a song for her students, letting them know “we are all trying our best to navigate through these strange times. In all of this madness, one thing remains the same – we care.”
Angela Saavedra, who co-teachers a third grade class with Linda Regal, said the song was inspired after many conversations together reflecting on their daily lessons.
Saavedra said normally this time of year the class participates in their talent show, and students sent in their submissions last week. She said students sent videos of them baking, gardening, making slime, solving Rubik's cubes and more. Saavedra posted all the submissions on Google Classroom and “together we formed a community where we can encourage each other and leave comments and feedback under each post.”
Saavedra said since the students shared with the class, she thought she’d surprise them with a song. “We always try to give them something to look forward to on our classroom website,” she said. Each day, she and Regal send the students on virtual field trips, tell them what the daily holiday is, and send them STEM and Doodle Challenges, appealing to all different types of learners. “My students often sang together in class,” Saavedra said. “They would sing songs in chorus and songs about science and math. I would sing with them but never performed in front of them. I'd always fade off in the background.”
Saavedra said writing has always been a passion of hers. She taught writing at Kean University for two years before becoming an elementary teacher. “I learned writing was powerful when it provided me with opportunities to travel and present my research. I'm pretty comfortable sharing my research but sharing my emotions through lyrics and song is completely different.” She said this is the first time she publicly shared music outside her circle of friends. “I know music has the power to help heal and inspire. I was very hesitant to share the song with anyone but I decided it's okay to open up - maybe my words and voice can provide others with comfort, too.”
When she first heard Taylor Swift's song " Soon, You'll Get Better", Saavedra said she thought of how vulnerable Swift was when she wrote and performed for the world. “Her song touched so many lives and helped people get through the scariest moments. I decided to cover her song but change up the words.”
Saavedra changed the lyrics in response to her continual thinking of all the Hannah Caldwell School students and staff. “Linda and I wanted to remind the students that life will not always be this way, better times are coming, that we always have, and always will have a space for them in our hearts even when they are no longer in our classroom.”
"I think being able to work with students is an honor. Knowing that we can make a difference is powerful. If this song brings comfort to even one person, then I have no regrets with sharing it despite how nervous I may be."