By Christine Quigley, Teacher-Mentor
I sometimes have a difficult time remembering what life was like before March. How did we get here and when will it end? Everything I’ve learned in my life has taught me that acceptance is the only way to avoid suffering. So I have accepted the changes that come with teaching during Covid. But I am still struggling. I don’t want to teach this way, I don’t want to look at screens and spend all night making Google Slides, Docs, and Forms. So when the stress of teaching during Covid and generally living during a pandemic started to get to me, I began to search for meaning and guidance. I have taken what I have learned from my own life experiences, from colleagues, and from searching the web for advice from others in the trenches. These two mental shifts have worked for me and I hope they can help you.
Change your expectations
This is not normal. No one teaches like this, no one learns this way, and no one likes it. Let go of any thoughts that you will teach as effectively as you would if you were in person. Let go of holding yourself to any standard of the past where you differentiated all subjects and reached all learners. Don’t expect anything and you will not be let down. Do your best, do what you know works for your class. You know in your heart what to do, don’t get caught up in the latest tech craze or by meeting testing standards. Stick with being real with your students. Show them that you can be vulnerable, too, and show them how much you care.
Find one good thing
Teachers can be perfectionists. We care so much about our students. We are used to coming home after a full day of teaching excited about how much the kids are learning. Teaching during Covid, we have to shift our mindset, stop looking for perfection, and instead look for one good thing a day, one connection, one student who signed in for the first time, one parent who answered your call. Look for what went right, not the kid who keeps unmuting during the lesson, the video that wouldn’t play, the kid writing in the chat, the unannounced AP watching you try to present a jamboard. Don’t get caught up in a negative pattern, focusing on things that are out of your circle of control. Find some small successes each day, and focus on those.
Find a mantra that works for you
Mine is, “This too shall pass.” I have used that mantra to help me get through life more times than I would like to remember, but it holds true and it helps. Someday we’ll look back on this time, and maybe we will say it’s when we grew emotionally, became more spiritual, started to meditate, or reconnected with what really matters in life. It reminds me of one of my favorite quotes from the Dalai Lama.
Maybe you didn’t have roots for this storm, so start growing them now. There will be more storms. But sunlight always follows the rain.