We are approaching two years of dealing with the COVID19 pandemic and are all tired of the debate; wear masks, don’t wear masks, get the vaccine, don’t get the vaccine, etc. Our children are tired and frustrated with it all too. In the words of Rodney King, “Can we all get along?”
Everyone is afraid of the pandemic and what might happen. Most people know someone who got ill from the virus, may be very ill and hospitalized, and maybe died. Approximately 664 thousand people have died in the United States from COVID19 so far and about 4.55 million worldwide. That touches a lot of lives who ask whose next? This weighs heavily on us, but what about the children?
Students have seen schools closed and remote learning. Mom and Dad have stayed home or lost their jobs. Parents have tried to teach their children while at home. There has been no routine, no schedule, and no friends for a long time. We can debate how much school work has been missed, how much their academics have suffered, but what about their socialization? They lost their proms and dances, sports games, and gatherings. These are the settings where children learn how to have relationships, argue, make up, laugh and cry, with friends. All gone for 18 months.
Children are scared and who wouldn’t be. I am scared of getting sick or losing a loved one. But I am an adult with a life time of learned skills on how to function when frightened, anxious, and under stress. So when that student is a bit too chatty, be kind with your admonishment. When that student is not focused, be gentle. And when that student acts up, it may be a cry for help, so be understanding. And when it is time to grade the students, grade with GRACE, because we all need time to shake off this feeling of helplessness and uncertainty.