What if the Covid 19 Pandemic is a blessing in disguise? What if isolation and social distancing teaches us how we can do things differently, and better? We have already learned the earth is vibrating less, more birds are chirping, pollution is reduced and smog ridden cities are now seeing the light of day! In a recent Facebook post I copied and pasted this little nugget:
TRAFFIC is gone, GAS is affordable,
KIDS are at home with their FAMILIES.
PARENTS are home taking care of their CHILDREN.
FAST FOOD replaced by HOME COOKED MEALS.
Hectic SCHEDULES replaced by NAPS, REST, and RELAXATION.
The AIR seems CLEANER.
The WORLD quieter.
PEOPLE are conscious about HYGIENE and HEALTH.
MONEY doesn’t seem to make the WORLD GO ROUND anymore.
And WE now have TIME, finally,
to STOP and SMELL the ROSES.
What if this is the beginning of a NEW world; a NEW way of being? Is it necessary to return to how things were? Perhaps some things will shuffle and some will remain the same?
Regardless, we are in the process of making history. Remember when we would discuss life in terms of pre printing press and post? Pre industrial revolution and post? Are we now at a place where our lives will be defined as pre and post Pandemic? I believe we are. I believe this experience will cause a paradigm shift in how we go about life, business, and human interaction. Covid 19 is here to teach us; to force change upon the entire planet. This universal pause is forcing us to think outside the box, and exist in ways we have never lived before.
I once attended an education conference where the keynote speaker coined a term called the TTWWADI pronounced “ Tit-wah-dy”. TTWWADI is an acronym that was used to describe things, ideas and people in education that don’t change simply because “ That’s The Way We’ve Always Done It” So, this word now begs the question, how will we adjust, adapt and change for the better after Covid 19?
- Will doctors, counsellors and teachers continue to meet with patients and clients online and over the phone?
- Will banks, restaurants, and other social spaces keep up with hygeine and disinfecting?
- Will families continue to find more ways to work from home, and spend more time with their children?
- Will we continue to spend more time at home enjoying the comfort of our families, pets and hard earned possessions?
- Will shopping and restaurant meals continue to be maintained and delivered in new and innovative ways?
- Will shopping malls cease to exist?
As an educator, I have spent many years studying school reform. The research shows that the current structure of institutionalized education is NOT best practice, but that true educational reform takes decades.
As an educator of 20 years, I have observed first hand limited change in education largely in part to mindset and funding. We still do desks/tables, we still do classrooms stuffed with kids, we continue with bells, and subjects and structures such as recess and summer holidays. These practices are engrained in society and very difficult to change; unless some large universal shift such as a world wide Pandemic occurs forcing us to see things differently, and think outside the box!
As an innovative educator, I enjoy being on the cutting edge. I love trying new methods and approaches to learning and dragging my staff and students along with me. Some endeavours are gobbled up by those I work with and some fall on their face. Regardless, I refuse to be that person who does things the same way repeatedly because That’s The Way We’ve Always Done It!
So, as an educator it leaves me to wonder…. is this our time for change? Is Post Pandemic the opportunity to revolutionize how we DO teaching and learning?
Has government now learned the value of personal space and will they recognize that 30 students crammed in a classroom is no longer safe physically and in relation to germs and virus?
Will more value now be placed on the physical presence of a teacher? Meaning that, as a society we will no longer expect teachers to wear the hats of nurse, mother, father, taxi, police officer, counsellor etc. Perhaps now, teachers can focus on simply teaching and learning? Perhaps kids can go to school physically 3 times/week instead of 5? What if, education became a blended learning experience where some days were spent with teachers and some days were spent learning online and from home? What if “school” is no longer viewed as a place for children to go so parents can work, but returns to being viewed as a privilege that is supported and nourished at home?
What if face to face learning becomes optional and being collaborative and learning social skills are the only times teachers and kids gather? What if field trips become the group learning experience for kids and it becomes manditory that parents drop off their children at the Science Center, The Zoo, Museums, the police station and other community learning landmarks; saving governments billions of dollars. What if more responsibility is placed back on parents to support learning and education? And employers are expected to accommodate. What if flexible work environments become the new normal because education evolves?
Will employers continue to adjust how they do business and how they offer services? Will new jobs become available that have yet to be imagined, while Pre-Pandemic jobs become obsolete?
Will society continue better health practices easing the burden on our health system saving governments money and altering spending priorities?
What if, PostPandemic, we can do life better? Will we? Or will society, leadership and government return to doing things the way they have always be done? Will families resume the hustle and bustle? Will we continue to stress and strive for more, for bigger and better?
What if this pause has taught us to slow down, to engage more deeply, to prioritize, to be more mindful and to be more giving of ourselves. What if this experience is a blessing in disguise. What if?