In a time of crisis, amazing things can happen. You don’t have to look far back into history to see how individuals can respond with innovation and resilience instead of subsiding to what could have been a perilous ending.
During World War II, the world saw innovations that changed the world as we knew it with the invention of the first computer, life-saving penicillin, synthetic rubber, the radar, and even the jerrycan (think of a gas container made of pressed steel), just to name a few. Extreme challenges push us as humans outside our comfort zones and force us to look at problems in a new and different way. Crisis demands movement and change; sitting idle is not an option. Individuals are forced to quickly experiment, try something different and more than often, learn how to fail and fail really fast in order to move forward and find a better solution. Crisis also can become a strong uniting force and fuel action to support something that can benefit the safety and wellbeing of one’s community.
This intense desire to help those around us and find new solutions to the problems at hand is at the very heart of what our educators do by nature – crisis or no crisis. There is no need to go back to World War II to see all the incredible examples of how educators display innovation, resilience and prove to be their own change agents. All around the world, teachers have stepped it up throughout the pandemic to find new and creative ways to help those around them grow and develop. Teachers have had to act quickly to adapt to the new classroom behind a screen. Teachers had to come up with new ways to recreate those face-to-face experiences, celebrate those various learning milestones, and find new ways in keeping their students engaged in an unfamiliar and challenging environment.
The COVID pandemic has catalyzed an all-hands-on-deck approach to learning, and it has most likely not all been rainbows and butterflies. The changes have been challenging, exhausting, and frustrating for both you and your students. There has been endless changes, tweaking, and adjusting that is most likely still going on to cultivate the correct elements needed to make everything work. And it isn’t over. There is still so much to do and care for with students, failies, and teachers alike feeling anxious about what back-to-school will look like this Fall.
But take a moment to pause … breathe … and look at all that you have done. All that you survived, all that you explored, discovered and learned from this experience so far. No, it is not over. There is a long way to go, but you can do it — you have been doing it. Teachers are adaptable, flexible, and above all else, resilient to whatever comes their way. So don’t forget to reflect on all that you have learned from this experience and just think of all that you can create and innovate on moving forward knowing what you know now. Who knows, maybe the next jerrycan is out there just waiting to be created.