Surviving the pandemic: A teacher's perspectiveMonday, August 23, 2021
BY MICHAEL HUGGAN
THE last two years have been unprecedented. A source from the international television station CNN said that “unprecedented” was the most used word of 2020.
Bringing it home to our Jamaican context, the recording artiste Gyptian in his song said: “These are some serious times.” This has never been more evident than in this time of the novel coronavirus pandemic. Society as we know it is faced with a new threat to our way of life and, as humans, our positive outlook is being tested.
We know that we are survivors. We will persevere. We will push on through through the trials encountered during this unprecedentented time. We have done it before and have come out unscathed.
With that, allow me to share some tips on how to ensure the teacher will cope in this pandemic.
Research has shown that physical activity releases chemical hormones in the brain that make us feel good, boost self-esteem and concentration, improve sleep, and give an overwhelming sense of well-being.
The best activity doesn't mean getting a gym membership or jogging at 5:00 am in the morning. It is simply the willingness to get up and water the garden or taking the time to do that spring cleaning you had planned for a whole year.
So put away the lesson plans, get on the laptop and set up virtual walks, a “zoomcercise” session, and virtual parties where you and friends can dance the night away. These are great ways to interact and share while remaining active.
PHYSICAL DISTANCING, NOT SOCIAL DISTANCING
We are social creatures and we are at our strongest when we are together.
Make use of virtual platforms to stay in touch with each other. Feel free to share emotions with someone who you can talk to. Do not disregard that feeling you get of loneliness and isolation because it can be the first sign of mental issues.
Take up the phone, video call somebody, find out how their day was. Tell a joke, have a laugh, let your hair down, feel free to laugh at yourself and the pandemic because this expression of emotion with friends and family may be that small thread that keeps us tethered to our sanity.
EXPLORE A PASSION
The pandemic has made us better managers of time. So, with all the curfews and restrictions in place, we can feel each one of those 24 hours sluggishly crawling by.
What can we do with all this free time?
Take the opportunity to explore that passion you have always had — learn to bake, learn to sew, use the opportunity to become a better public speaker, enroll in an online class and develop that new skill you never had the time to craft.
GET A PET
I am, on most mornings, awoken by the sound of my wife and Germie. Germie is the name that my wife gave to the family's German shepherd. Germie, you see, is a pandemic puppy that came into our lives and brought a ray of sunshine. He shares it with the whole family.
His presence alone, and his sheer ignorance to what is happening around him, give a sense of hope that we will also look back at this experience with renewed strength to meet the day-to-day challenges of the pandemic head-on, with the knowledge that we are indeed equipped to survive this experience. Just ask the dog, the cat, the birds, and the bees who have gone through it all before and come out on the other side stronger.
CREATE A PASSIVE INCOME STREAM
You see, the beauty with time is that it is infinite. However, we live finite lives so why not make some extra income in this time when the economy is demanding new services and providing opportunities for income-generating avenues? Use this opportunity to consult with your financial advisor, search the Internet for passive income ideas, start a business from home — sell your service!
This will give you a sense of self-worth — evidence that you can succeed in something outside of teaching. It provides us an opportunity to practise the four Cs that we so often hear promoted in the education faculty:
1) think critically;
2) use the opportunity to collaborate;
3) use varying modalities to communicate and share ideas;
4) use the shared ideas creatively.
My colleagues, see this pandemic as an opportunity, rather than as a threat. We will all come out on the other side as victors. We are teachers. We are strong. We are nation-builders.
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