As a virus spreads in our world and takes us into uncharted waters, shutting down schools and universities, we have to learn new coping mechanisms, new ways of thinking — and new ways of learning.
Teachers across the world are learning what it means to remote teach. The stress was felt globally putting together last minute packets, Google classrooms, all the while trying to answer questions from students and anxious phone calls from parents.
Teachers are worried. Parents are tired. Administrators are trying.
Teachers are perturbed about regression. Special ed teachers are concerned about high risk students and how they’re coping all the while trying to manage accommodations virtually. Every single teacher, school counselor, nurse, and administrator have no idea what to expect upon the return of school — or even when that will happen.
Students are missing out on memories we all hope they will get the chance to have while proms are cancelled, high school graduations are post poned, and university students dreams feel halted.
Students everywhere are missing their friendships, teachers, and schools. Teachers and school professionals across the world want to be back in the classroom with their students, and it’s a loss that is felt in every teachers heart. But this won’t stop teachers from showing up, because if there’s one thing teachers can never fail at — it’s being there for students even in the hardest of times.
Stress can bring out the worst in people. And while teachers are coping with grades, tests, and daily assignments, there’s one thing that will matter more than anything after all of this is over:
Student’s mental health will be more important than their academic skills.
How our students will feel by the time this is over will impact their lives more than having not finished the essay on a book assignment. They need to feel safe, loved, and supported through these times where they are witnessing high stress.
Though students should definitely try their best, we have to remember parents are also doing their best while remote working and taking care of their family full-time. Students can’t raise their hand and expect immediate help from their teachers anymore, so naturally there’s going to be frustration. There’s going to be incomplete assignments. There’s going to be a lot of tears, melt-downs, regression, and complete start-overs — but it will take ten times as much work re-building our students mental health and also our own during these trying times if we don’t keep perspective.
Every single one of our mental health matters. It doesn’t vanish because of a pandemic. Everyone is more fragile. So, if you’re in the field of education and are responsible for the learning of others, be kind to yourself. Give grace to your students. Be patient with parents.
We’re all trying our best in this, and we’re all in this together.