While this darn coronavirus is wreaking havoc on many aspect of life, there is hope for some upside.
If school leadership and each of us grown-ups can slow down, take a breath and put ourselves in our school-aged kids’ shoes, an extended break from going to school might turn some lemons into lemonade.
Here is why: kids need a break from the pressure and never-ending activity we have placed upon them. We must rise to the occasion to do right by those most vulnerable to school closure — students of color, those economically disadvantaged and those with special needs, among others. At the same time, I believe we can take advantage of this unique opportunity to rejuvenate and maybe even reset.
If there is something good about the combination of technology, social media and children, it may be the ability it lends in maintaining some connectedness among them during this strange time of social distancing. They need each other often more than they need us. They need to stay connected with their girlfriends, boyfriends and best friends and their phones may be all they have to do so for a while. We aren’t going to stifle that side of their lives anytime soon; let’s stifle another side of it.
Our kids need a break. A break from their parents getting an email every time they are late for class or fail a homework assignment. A break from a text or Instagram reminding them not to forget or to get somewhere on time or that they have missed out on an event.
Many, probably most, need a moment to slow down and not worry about making it from zero hour (that time before school even starts), through an overstructured, overcrowded school day, to band or baseball practice and all the way through too much homework. They need a time without expectation — they are kids!
Though a little anomalous, why don’t we not only find ways to educate our kiddo’s during this time, but also see what it’s like to relax some standards and norms associated with education — create less pressure, not more.
I doubt we are going to fall any further behind Chinese education at the moment. So let’s enjoy a spring without a dozen volleyball matches and baseball practices a week. Instead, go out and kick a soccer ball in backyard for a couple hours, get some real dirt (the kind not perfectly mixed with sand and chalk) on our kids’ knees planting some bulbs in the yard. Or just get bored! If we can’t go to church, how about getting up to watch one of God’s wonderful sunrises?
So while we rise up to solve the problems COVID-19 serves up, let’s also be mindful to take advantage of unique opportunities and learnings this pandemic might offer to improve our kids’ wellbeing and student life.