Expert Contribution

The New Normal in Education – Helping Students Cope

Due to the COVID-19 virus and shelter-in-place mandate, we find ourselves in unprecedented times. School closures across the globe and an overall shift from our normal routine have left parents and educators concerned about the impact on students both academically and socially. To those experiencing feelings of stress and anxiety over this sudden change in education, I want to encourage you to remember the big picture. As the Challenge Success Program at Stanford University wisely reminds us, “This is a time to focus on — and be grateful for — your family’s safety, health, and well-being. Make building strong family relationships a priority. Reach out to neighbors, friends, and others in your community to check in, offer support, and connect virtually.” 

Families across the country are experiencing this situation differently depending on their school’s approach to long-distance learning, work commitments, and the unique needs of each child. As the list of parental responsibilities grows, so does the amount of stress experienced by the family. When these intense feelings arise, I encourage you to take a deep breath. Scale back if needed, and allow your child to focus on core content such as Math, Writing and Reading. Let your child have time to expand their critical thinking skills by exploring extracurricular activities such as pleasure reading, a virtual conversation with a friend, drawing, exercise, and play. Trust me, your teachers want what is best for you and your child. Take a moment to communicate your concerns with them. Chances are you are not alone, and taking a moment to share your story helps everyone. 

It is too early to say how the worldwide pandemic has changed how we teach and learn. We know it has required teachers to grow and explore in a new and exciting way. Online platforms such as Zoom, Google Hangouts, and Google Chat have allowed for face-to-face instruction and the much-missed social connection. I can tell you firsthand that teaching truly is a labor of love and that daily interactions with students are keeping us motivated and smiling. As educational development continues to change, I am reminded of the following quote: “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Victor Frankl 

I applaud the students, parents, and teachers for their flexibility and dedication to learning. I pray for the health and safety of this community and look forward to brighter days ahead! 

By Maria Ward, Principal, St. Isidore School

About The Author

St. Isidore School

St. Isidore School is the East Bay’s largest Catholic School serving TK-8th Grade. We believe each student is a unique and beautiful gift. We foster individuality in a familial environment, inspiring students to explore and grow. Our teachers create a love of learning by nurturing an inquisitive spirit, building connections, and developing critical thinking. We understand that today’s learners are tomorrow’s leaders.

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