"Lessons from this episode will be priceless."
To say that the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly altered people’s lives would be an understatement. One of the clearest manifestations of that change is in the education system.
Public school are set to reopen on October 5, but many private learning institutions have already started the school year. Through a mix of so-called synchronous and asynchronous methods—where the students and teacher are present all at the same time, and where they perform other tasks on their own, respectively—educators are trying to make do with available technology to reach out to their students and enable them to learn, notwithstanding the great challenges posed by these untested methods.
The teachers themselves are having a difficult time adjusting to the new demands of their work. Sure, they may be teaching from the comfort of their homes, but there is definitely nothing comfortable about doing your work in the same manner for many years, even decades, and then having to shift to an altogether new way of teaching.
They could have trouble with their tools and with connectivity, or they could also find it difficult to be effective at their jobs using the only available medium of instruction.
Meanwhile, students are also adjusting to the much-changed demands of schoolwork. They may have grown up with technology, but mostly for recreation and socialization. Today they have to use technology to substitute the interactions and experiences they would otherwise have in the classroom.
In an ideal world, the present work-from-home set-up would allow parents to pay closer attention to their children’s work habits. This is true for some families fortunate enough to keep a job and provide their children their learning tools.
In the real world, however, and especially as the public schools open in a few weeks, the situation could be starkly different. Children may not have adequate or functioning equipment. The home may not be an ideal place to focus and to learn new things. Parents could be anxious about where the next meal may come from, even if they did not have to worry about a COVID-19 infection.
Everybody is trying his or her best to still be able to learn in this new environment. Students will learn their lessons, educators will learn to teach better, and parents will learn how best they can support their children. Nothing prepared us for this, so complaining will not help.
In finding our stride, it is best to remember that one crisis affects families and communities differently. This should improve our empathy and correct our short-sightedness. In doing our best to cope, but we should also pick out the lessons that will come handy when this crisis is finally over. That wisdom would be priceless.