Is there a silver lining for teachers, parents, and students in the midst of all our significant pandemic afflictions?
Perhaps. A few thoughts:
Because it seems to have improved familial and neighborhood bonds, COVID-19 has sharpened our recognition of the importance of acceptance, simplicity, and kindness in each of our lives. I had an idea that I didn’t need so much stuff, but the pandemic verified it. It also confirmed to me personally the importance of kindness (Have you seen the internet videos of some very angry people?), and the timeless truth of accepting that which we cannot change.
Many parents have been spending more focused time with their children at home, in both schoolwork and in recreation. Will they begin to appreciate teachers more? Loving and conscious parents can gain insight into their children’s educational strengths and weaknesses. They also might have more time to give their children extra quantities of physical, mental, and emotional security. For more ideas about the invaluable, cost-free gifts for children, see Reading Spotlight’s previous post:
For students, some high-stress school situations have decreased or disappeared. Is there a little less bullying since parents are nearby to oversee children’s cell phone use? No one is getting beaten up in the back stairwell, for sure. Previously, many families never ate dinner together due to continual after school activities. Students, especially middle and high schoolers, don’t have to stay up until midnight doing busywork. I mean homework. Kids might get more sleep! More time to dream! More time to create something for no reason, except to please themselves. They might have more time to notice nature on a walk, to play with brothers and sisters, and to engage in true “quality time” while bonding with parents. Board games and jigsaw puzzles have seen a huge increase recently, as have fresh air walks, neighborhood concerts, and community gestures of gratitude for hospital and first responders. Hurrah!
My favorite form of learning—independent reading—has taken a turn for the better. Boredom will do that. Many libraries have opened internet applications for library cards, and unlocked their libraries online to all who want to take advantage of the Mighty Door that independent reading opens to all.
Distance learning and teleconferencing have come in handy in the Coronavirus epidemic. Will educators take advantage of the changes they have precipitated? Have teachers begun to reconstruct their lessons for taut, effective, and inspiring instruction since they know that each minute is especially precious and also that parents are looking over the shoulders of their children each day? Have they had more time to evaluate what is meaningful for their students to learn and what is not?
Is there now some momentum to move from our archaic educational format, one great for farming and manufacturing, to a tech-savvy, informational integration for our modern age? I can imagine that one great, electrifying teacher could present video instruction of a concept, while other great teachers with other skills, such as patience, organization, inspiration, or creativity, would group or individualize for relearning, review, or for imaginative broadening of the basic concept in each subject or grade. This would work well if we are reduced to less than a 5-day, in-school, pandemic schedule. Envision what can be accomplished if educational time is used effectively. All kids could actually earn to the best of their abilities, and many might spend less time in school being bored, as they memorize and then regurgitate information easily Googled. Can this pandemic force American educators to reimagine and redesign schools for a better future?
If anything, this crisis has given most of us the priceless gift of time to simply think. Have we used it well? Will we have found a little bit of a silver lining in the pandemic—one which leads to more meaningful personal growth, better family relations, and a constructive education system for the 21st century?
Here are some other interesting posts about education from my friends at TBOTEMC:
© Reading Spotlight 2020