We’re nine months into this global pandemic now, having nearly 60 million confirmed COVID-19 cases to date. It seems the situation is getting better, but have we become better through it?
This new normal has challenged teachers to prepare and conduct their classes in new ways. Education in third world countries like the Philippines especially suffers due to the lack of quality Wi-Fi. Teachers also have to think of new ways to evaluate and assess student learning online.. Additionally, online classes present a whole new set of challenges in managing classroom behavior.
Online learning poses challenges for students as well. Many struggle to find a quiet space conducive for online learning. Home all day, they may be required by parents to do household chores which interfere with scheduled classes.
Recently, as typhoons Rolly and Ulysses ravaged the Philippines, Reliefweb International reports over 2.3 million people have been affected across eight regions, with over 23,089 individuals displaced in evacuation centers, and more than 46,987 individuals displaced outside of evacuation centers. The horror of horrors has come upon my beloved country.
And so as we struggle harder to get back up to our feet, let us remember these three things that we need most right now from teachers, students, and parents to make living in the new normal much more bearable.
Brené Brown reminds us that empathy requires us to recall or reflect on feelings that are uncomfortable so that we can connect to another human being who may be experiencing the same thing so we could look upon them with compassion.
The word “compassion” itself means “suffering with” according to the Dalai Lama. This does not mean that we don’t celebrate the highlights of our lives anymore while all the world suffers, but it does mean that we feel the pain that other people feel so we could show them kindness.
Psychology Dictionary online defines kindness as “…a benevolent and helpful action intentionally directed towards another person; it is motivated by the desire to help another and not to gain explicit reward or to avoid explicit punishment.”
Shakespeare says, “All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players: they have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts…” We have mourned the deaths of fellow humans from the world over as well as our own familiar ways of life. But the show is not yet over. The show must go on. And as we play our role in the grand play of life, let us remember what Konstantin Stanislavski remarked, “there are no small parts, only small actors.”
Let the daily humdrum of our existence be filled with not only great expectations but with great empathy, compassion, and kindness. It is only with these three emotions that the world hangs in balance. Without empathy, compassion, and kindness we are not human beings, simply human doings.
Let the world show that you care with your intentional acts of kindness. A small good deed each day to your fellow teachers and your students will brighten up at least one person’s day. That could be the thing they need to give them at least one small smile to make it through the day.