The new normal has laid bare a confusing world, in which, a lot has changed, with social distancing norms and other restrictions in place. Learning is no longer constrained by physical barriers, it may be acquired anywhere, thanks to technology.
The adversity quotient: acceptance is recovery
With fear and uncertainty in the air, it is crucial for teachers to stay connected, generate awareness, and respond creatively while maintaining the essence of teaching.
Four easy steps for acceptance
- See it: acknowledge the need for change
- Own it: accept and take ownership of the situation
- Solve it: plan ahead
- Do it: execute the change with a Plan B as backup
We are at the cross roads of history, and our young learners need to be sensitized to the challenges and gifts of this new reality, as well as, supported to build skills and competencies and use technology as a tool to thrive.
It’s a pressure cooker out there!
I would like to share a recent incident, analogous to our situation in the first few days of the lockdown. A few weeks ago, to save time spent in the kitchen, I decided to cook more meals in a pressure cooker, than in pots and pans. My old pressure cooker was too small for my plan, so a new one was ordered. The new version that confronted me, was a completely different design. Frantic efforts were made to get the two pieces to fit together. I struggled for a few minutes, sweating over it. Adding to the frustration was the fact that I had an audience. Thankfully, ten minutes into the ordeal, my intelligence kicked in and I asked for the instruction manual. Thirty seconds later the pressure cooker lid and the pot were joyfully united. That’s all it took – a few seconds to read the instructions, line up the two arrows (which were there in plain sight, if only I had known where to look).
Such a simple lesson for us all from the humble pressure cooker: misdirected action does not result in much, other than a lot of sweat. Too many people trying to do a job with the best intent does not help either. What is needed sometimes, is a pause, some research and reflection. Seek to first understand what needs to be done. Take the time to apply your mind. Then swing into action…mindful action vs. mindless frenzy.
The pressure cooker created an environment of stress like the lockdown did. There was so much newness to navigate, with no time to pause and think. The turning point came in the form of some ‘me time’ and quiet reflection. Thankfully, we aligned quickly and marched forward, now everything is slowly finding its place in this new jigsaw puzzle. We must remind ourselves to take some time to find the alignment and start connecting with the new Normal, to help our young learners learn to cope with the uncertainty that surrounds them…and build Adversity Quotient. Remember to let off steam at times, to cope with stress. Do not allow uncertainty to get to you. Spend some time in solitude…it’s ok to want to be alone at times to find solutions.
Design thinking for change: building bridges
- The online teaching model must be embedded with an emotional compass as mental health issues are on the rise and the dominos effect will be felt very soon
- Design thinking for change is the need of the hour, with creative freedom and opportunities for self-learning
- Building emotional resilience
- Using photographs of the city in lock down, silent, but beautiful will help us reflect and overcome this situation without fear and with hope
- Creating a virtual class constitution will help children apply their civics lessons to life
- Show them they are not alone
- If current times are tough, it is the same for all. Confinement need not be a condition of the spirit for we can be free if we wish ourselves to be
- Encourage students to learn through trial and error as we are doing.
- Plan lessons with less frills /fuss as what matters is not the quantity of what is taught but quality.
Try reverse mentoring
Flip the class with students doing most of the talking
Repackage content and assessments
Let them show us the way
The gift of hope
Hard times such as these will teach children to appreciate their blessings and empathize with others. Remind them to go up to the terrace to watch the stars and clear blue skies. As teachers, we must add freshness to old tasks. Our familiar lives must now be reconstructed, with a new attitude in place. Yes, we miss our work, the comfort of routine, structure and friends. We are afraid. Let us turn FEAR into a motivator, it sometimes is. Life is scary but planning makes it comfortable, and we can be back in control.
The happiest of people don’t necessarily have the best of everything—they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.
It is the same when we teach I write, erase, rewrite
Erase again and then a poppy blooms
As teachers, let us reinvent to be real, let us rewrite rule books, add kindness, offer choices and keep connecting till the poppies bloom in our class rooms. As Maya Angelou said ‘As teachers let us try to be the rainbow in someone’s cloud.’
Ms. Anjana Saha
Mahadevi Birla World Academy