Over 60% of the world’s student population is affected by this global pandemic and it looks like it’s not letting up anytime soon. Many teachers (and parents, too) are jobless, angry, and depressed.
How can we not only survive but thrive in these difficult times? Here are just three of the myriad of ways we can do just that.
Motivation is external while inspiration is internal. As teachers, we need to know this and must teach it to our students. How can we inspire them to remain inspired without the physical and personal motivation of us teachers or the classroom setting? Many of our students are not self driven. Many more are not used to studying at home.
“The human spirit is stronger than anything that can happen to it,” says C.C. Scott. Yes, we’re all living in the worst times. But things usually have to get worse before they get better.
As educators, we’re being called upon to become beacons of light to the world. As teachers, we’re challenged to lead our students to a better way of studying and learning that will lead all of us to a better way of living. We need to inspire them to do their best even without external motivators because the harsh reality of life is there will be times in their lives they have to do things alone.
There has been a surge of usage of online educational resources in recent times. This is the time wherein we appreciate technology in all its glory. Many experienced classroom teachers are now forced to learn how to use language apps, virtual tutoring services, video conferencing tools, or online learning software to be able to reach their students. (If you’re curious, this is what school in China looks like right now.)
Not all countries can so easily adapt to digital education, though. In recent news in the Philippines, a group of teachers were seen along a mountain highway trying to catch wifi as they were attending a two-day seminar for teachers. Another teacher has gone viral online for climbing a mountain for the same reason.
The governments of economically challenged countries are having to cope with the challenges of educating their teachers and students in this new environment. As individual teachers, we’ll all surely find our own ways to make distance learning work for our students, and because of our efforts, in the end, all of us will come out with more tools than ever before thanks to this crisis.
In my previous blog post “5 Stress Management Life Hacks for Teachers”, I quoted Angela Duckworth in her famous TED talk saying, “Grit is the power of passion and perseverance.” Let’s put things in proper perspective. Don’t think for a second that you’re the only one suffering right now. The whole world is suffering right now in one way or another.
Either we grit through this or we won’t get over it. We’ll only increase the suffering in our lives as teachers and the lives of others around us if we just mope and complain all the way. It’s better that we all get better than just be bitter about it all. The situation is already hard as it is, so let’s not make it even worse by having a grumpy attitude. The way you’re dealing with things on the inside will always show on the outside.
In this podcast episode of The Happiness Lab (which I listen to regularly on Spotify), the guest speaker, who teaches stoicism, talks about the “last time meditation”. He says that in all the things that we’ve ever done in life or will ever do, there will be a last time. Just thinking each day with our students could potentially be our last time will hopefully make us more thoughtful and intentional about how we spend our time with them.
Dear teacher, your life matters big time to many of your students. Make each day count. Don’t just survive in this global pandemic. Thrive.