Joy in Pandemic Teaching
Teachers are worriers. Blunt but true. We worry about our students when they leave the school building – when it’s a long weekend or a break. Are they getting enough food? Are they safe? Cared for? But, during this unprecedented time these concerns take on a new life.
As was mentioned earlier this week in the article 10 Coping Tips for Teachers at Home, there are a lot of emotions attached to the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the same article, the advice of focusing on what is within your immediate control is shared.
One BIG THING that you can control is what brings you joy. So today we are talking about finding joy in teaching during a pandemic.
Same Idea: New Meaning
Almost 2 years ago I published the article Where to Find the Joy in Teaching. It was an overview of 5 places where happiness and satisfaction exist within a career in teaching when it’s hard to find. It was a reminder that even when stress creeps in and burnout perhaps starts to loom its ugly head that there is still plenty of good.
Now, as we live in a future no one could have predicted, I feel that this concept begs to repeat. Where do we look to find joy in pandemic teaching? It’s not as straight forward, but perhaps it’s even more needed than when first visited 2 years ago.
I recognize that some of you are teaching online, some of you are missing your students entirely, and no one wants to be in this situation, but here are some ideas to help us all look on the bright side of things.
Let’s get innovative
It’s too early to see what will come out of this. Will more school systems offer online courses? Will students look for more variety of teaching formats? Will grade progression remain the same? Time will tell, but one thing that will undoubtedly come out of this is innovation. With educators at all levels looking for new ways of connecting with students and demonstrating learning processes, innovation abounds. From online conferencing to video editing and at-home projects, teachers and students alike are using this time to get creative with learning. Teaching looks different than it did a couple of months ago – so learning can too. Let this inspire you to look outside the box in how you approach your classes.
IDEA: Think of items that most students will have readily available during the pandemic, i.e. containers, cardboard, paper, and digital documentation.
Share and Share Alike
During this pandemic, it’s easy to feel alone, but let us not forget that we are a part of a team. Remember to reach out to colleagues, share, commiserate, and collaborate. We are truly stronger together and during this time we could all use a little extra strength.
IDEA: Set up a weekly time to check-in, be it an informal staff meeting, department meeting, or faculty happy hour.
Time is on your side (kind of)
Although you still probably feel the pressure (if not more so) to squeeze as much as you would like into this school year, your time is less structured. You have time to do all sorts of important things like go to the bathroom and eat lunch. There’s a flexibility that comes with online teaching. Is it ideal? Not usually. Is it what we intended or want? Not at all. But, with the hectic pace of the school year behind you and severed commute time, you can enjoy your coffee while it’s hot before you face the day (and your online students).
IDEA: Develop a weekday morning routine that prepares and energizes you for the work ahead.
The “Aha moments” may not look the same, but now more than ever we need reasons to celebrate – for our students and for ourselves. Did all your students log in today? Did a student share a project of their own design? Are there milestones, birthdays…?
IDEA: Don’t have anything to celebrate during this pandemic? Make it up. Declare today as Gratitude Day and celebrate the little things.
Looking for more ways find joy in pandemic teaching – Check out the book Joy in Teaching for resilience-building strategies that are just as applicable now as they were in the traditional classroom setting.