Pandemic!! – Teachers – Forgotten Heroes
(Teacher well-being during covid19)
A Teacher – Being one is the highest privilege, having one is the best blessing!
When the going gets tough, the tough get going! This is what the teachers across the world have shown to the society by epitomising resilience and displaying exemplary courage, resoluteness, tenacity and standing up to the challenges by converting them into opportunities for personal and professional growth. Society used them as they would an “Alexa,” expecting all the right answers for each one of their problems in these unprecedented times, anticipating that this tribe of people would come up with solutions and each one needed a different answer.
There is a saying that “every bad situation has something positive to it… Even a dead clock shows the correct time twice a day”. Sometimes the bad things that happen in one’s life puts them directly on the path to the best things that will ever happen to them. It is said that Isaac Newton found out about gravity, calculus, motion and optics while he was in quarantine when the lockdown was declared during the great plague.
We cannot underscore the fact that difficult situations could be prevalent in the teachers’ homes as well. Historically, it has been seen that the best of the character is exhibited or built into the people in times of crisis and they come out much stronger after going through adversities in their life. The pandemic ensured that every teacher was forced to become tech savvy, which would otherwise have been a long-drawn exercise for many of them. Some of them have even ventured into equipping themselves digitally with relevant certification courses as well, taking advantage of the forced digitization, and have come up with innovative solutions for their students. We could also see teachers getting more resilient and be ready to rise up to the challenges posed by covid-19 in spite of losing jobs, reduced salaries, needing to take up menial jobs to support their families.
The importance of Social and Emotional Learning, developing the emotional quotient, all came to the fore with the schools suddenly realizing this aspect as a primary requirement before proceeding with completion of syllabus. Today, the pandemic has affected the health and loss of lives in many families, with some of the children losing a parent or even getting orphaned, all of this leaving an indelible mark on the child’s psyche. Today’s children do not need
counselling, they need open honest conversations. Schools are now training teachers and incorporating tools like mindfulness, relaxation techniques, physical exercises, arts, music, breaks etc., to build the self-awareness, social awareness, responsible decision making, relationship skills and self- management, all of which are the elements of Social and Emotional Learning.
While we focus on the Maslow’s hierarchy of needs for children, it is important to understand that even teachers’ Maslow’s needs also have to be met as they are also going through a lot of emotional turmoil and lack of confidence and sometimes self-esteem when they are not able to stand up to the situation of the day. Teachers are stressed out as they have to develop lessons, be tech savvy enough to be able to prepare videos etc., which they were expected to master overnight. Hence it is very essential to take care of their emotional strength and self-esteem and building their self-confidence and motivational levels will slowly help them move up to their self-actualization, and schools are treating this as the need of the hour today.
To the teachers who are really struggling, Dr. Brad Johnson has a message which says “don’t make long term decisions based on short term chaos. If you are overwhelmed then you may feel like giving up, quitting, or even retiring. Get through this, get back to a good place mentally & emotionally before making those decisions”. Keeping all these adverse factors that the teachers are going through in mind, it is very essential that they remember these three things
- Not to put too much pressure on themselves or the children, as this is not the time for perfection but it is time for compassion and
- They should be in constant touch with their students as they would love to interact with them, teachers have to realize that their proficiency in professional competencies or personal effectiveness work only on the strength of the relationships they develop with their
- Take care of themselves and their families, as they are their highest priority and specifically work to build their emotional
Once a person decides to become a teacher, they have to realize that the onus of shaping the destiny of the nation rests on their shoulders as they are directly in charge of moulding the next generation for any nation. So, as a teacher, it is very essential that they strengthen their character and personality and stand tall to be role models for their students to learn from them and emulate them.
It is time that we realize the exemplary work done by our teachers and the commitment shown by them to ensure that they are not only in constant touch
with their students, in spite of suffering from adversities themselves. We have heard of teachers taking classes from outside hospital rooms, in the parking lots of hospitals, while tending to their loved ones in the hospital, and at the same time appearing with a smiling face in front of their students to ensure that they do not lose touch and provide the necessary solace to their students.
Martin Luther King Jr said “Only in the darkness can you see the stars..” and shine like the stars they did.. Time to recognize them as the Covid Warriors and bring these forgotten heroes to the forefront.