Please Stop Expecting Normal From Kids (and Teachers) Right Now

2020 has been a year like no other, especially for students and educators worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic forced schools to close their doors, transitioning to remote learning and leaving students and teachers grappling with a new normal. Yet, despite the challenges, many are still demanding a return to “normal” expectations.

But here’s the truth: expecting normalcy from kids and teachers right now is not only unrealistic but also unfair. The pandemic has disrupted every aspect of our lives, and the education system is no exception. Students have faced numerous obstacles, from technical difficulties to lack of motivation and the absence of social interactions. Meanwhile, teachers have had to adapt their teaching methods, mastering online platforms and finding creative ways to engage their students from a distance.

It’s crucial to understand that everyone’s circumstances are vastly different. Some students come from households with stable internet connections and supportive environments, while others may struggle with connectivity and face additional challenges at home. Similarly, teachers have had to navigate their own personal and professional obstacles during this trying time.

Rather than holding onto old expectations, it’s time to embrace a more flexible approach. We need to recognize that students and teachers are doing their best under unprecedented circumstances. Instead of focusing solely on academic achievements, we should prioritize mental health, well-being, and creating a supportive learning environment.

Empathy becomes paramount in these times. Instead of reprimanding students for not keeping up with expected timelines or assignments, it’s important to understand their challenges and offer support. Teachers can provide extended deadlines, and extra resources, and maintain open lines of communication to cater to individual needs.

Furthermore, we should encourage creativity and exploration in education. While traditional classroom settings may not be possible, there is an opportunity to embrace innovative teaching methods. Virtual field trips, collaborative projects, and incorporating technology can enhance engagement and make learning more interactive.

Parents and caregivers also play a crucial role in supporting their children’s education during this time. Creating a structured routine, providing a conducive learning environment, and advocating for their child’s needs can make a significant difference.

So, let’s stop expecting things to be “normal” from kids and teachers right now. Instead, let’s foster a culture of understanding, flexibility, and support in education. By doing so, we can ensure that students and educators thrive despite the current challenges and build a stronger foundation for the future.