“Seeing much, suffering much, and studying much, are the three pillars of learning.”Benjamin Disraeli
Benjamin Disraeli served twice as prime minister of the United Kingdom in the 1800s. That fact says a lot about this notable statesman and novelist who provided the Conservative Party policies for imperialism and democracy. (For a virtual visit of the mansion he lived in for 30 years, click here.)
His famous quote “Seeing much, suffering much, and studying much, are the three pillars of learning” is one of his memorable quotes that especially resonate with us teachers. Here’s how it applies to learning continuity amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.
As teachers, our students look to us for guidance and perspectives on things they haven’t yet seen or experienced. For us to effectively engage them in learning, we must be very observant of how we and others learn so that we can guide them through the same process, although they’ll always have their own journeys unique to themselves.
We need to be aware of our own biases that prevent us from seeing the full picture of it all and hearing the students’ opinions and perspectives in the way they see it and not the way we want them to see it.
We also need to be patient and understanding as we listen to our students struggle through their online classes at home in order for us to connect with them.
As we go through the pain of adjusting to digital learning while meeting high-pressure deadlines from our schools and organizations to make lesson plans and mark assessments, let’s not forget that our suffering isn’t in vain.
We must be gentle with ourselves as we go through a process of trial and error while working with our many iterations of our Powerpoint presentations and videos. Some of us are really new to these emerging technologies and platforms, and we may sometimes feel that our students know more about these technologies than we do.
This is where vulnerability plays a vital role because, even as teachers, we really don’t know it all. And we must be willing to admit that we too need help in other areas in which students are tech experts, or “digital natives”.
This is also the time and place where we as teachers are once again students when it comes to coming up with creative and fun ways of making digital learning click for our students.
Aside from the many pieces of training we voluntarily go through online or receive from our schools, there are many helpful resources online that help us make magic happen. One of them is Free Technology for Teachers, an award-winning educational blog that’s read by over 500,000 educators worldwide.
Yes, we live in one of the most difficult times in our era, and now we are called upon to rise to the challenge of our calling as educators on the front lines.
This isn’t the time and place to give up and forget what we swore in our licensure oath. It’s once again the time and place to see much, suffer much, and study much for the sake of educating the future leaders of our nation.
It may not be too much of a stretch of the imagination to say that a better future for our world lies in the hearts and minds of us teachers and how we educate our students.