“What should I do?”
“I don’t know what to do with my kids at home anymore.”
“Will I still have a job tomorrow?”
“Will I have enough money next week, month, 2 months?”
“Are the teachers doing their job or not?”
“We are busy with our work also, but we need to help our kids to study.”
“School is so stressful during this time. They demand us to do many things. So many assignments.”
“Students need to do what they need to do.”
“Despite the school closure, it does not mean assessments should stop.”
During this difficult situation, we are all faced with various challenges in front of us. Daily necessities, family or personal finance, future, career or job, children’s education, and other things. We have a kind of common obstacles and challenges, however, usually, we are made confused or anxious by also a kind of similar matters.
As a school teacher, I’ve heard receive much information, complains and positive messages revolving around education or school life. If you read some of the quotes above, they revolve around our daily lives (including school life), be it as parents, children or teachers/educators.
Like it or not, we still have to fulfill our role. Parents still need to provide and cater to the holistic needs of their family members. At the same time, parents are also workers (employees or business owners) who have responsibilities to do their job(s) well. So, they kinda have to juggle around and multitask as a family provider in terms of financial and physical needs, but also emotional needs, while at the same time they need to take care of themselves. Besides, they might need to take care of the entire family members.
Children are living their lives as mini-adults. They have responsibilities to do their job well also, as students at school, as students in their piano or ballet lesson, or as football players in their club, or else. They need to finish the assignments given by their respective teachers (probably with the fear that they might cost the mark/grade they could earn). At the same time, they also play the role of children in the house. They might need to help take care of their siblings, or at least just be a good kid, or help their parents clean up the house. Besides, just as parents, they need to take care of their mental health and wellbeing.
Teachers and educators also have their responsibilities to deliver quality education to the students they cater to. One thing that parents might not realize or aware of is that teachers might be also parents. This means that these teachers also need to take care of their own children while doing their work, just as all other parents need to do. Teachers need to do the job well, otherwise, they might lose the job. Worse, we know that in Indonesia the welfare of teachers is not that good. You might recall my previous writing that values teachers during this difficult time. (https://transducation.com/2020/04/02/a-letter-to-teachers/).
We could add up many more roles. However, we might have been able to see the pattern here. Be it you are a kid, a student, a parent, a teacher, an individual worker, or else, we have our responsibilities that we need to fulfill. These responsibilities generally comprise of two categories:
- A responsibility to take care of ourselves – mental, health, our job, etc.
- A responsibility to take care of others – household, spouse, siblings, parents, children, etc.
As a teacher, I’ve witnessed that teachers are demanded and expected to still teach and educate the students very well, just like you are expected as a worker, manager, CEO, or business owner. Some of us have done well, some others have not. This is the flaw that some teachers do, probably thinking that they could just lay back and give all the assignments to students and expect them to finish everything themselves.
Then, why do I write this thing? What is the point? My point is this. I want to remind, and at the same time encourage all of us, to remember again. Remember that we are all human beings.
Human beings are.. human beings. What do we expect? We all want to be treated nicely and fairly. We all want to be respected. We all want to be taken care of. We want our needs to be catered. We want to be educated. We want to be loved. We want others to understand our situation. We want our teachers to consider us personally. We want to be given positive feedback and messages.
I think this is also something that many teachers, as well as parents and others, need to understand and be reminded of. Expecting such an attitude from children might be too much during this difficult time, though I believe that they need to learn as well and I believe they could do it.
All the strategies that we might have watched in various videos or websites, WhatsApp chat group, or else, I think are brilliant. But, I want to put them in a more ground rule. Treat others as we want to be treated. Isn’t this what we learn morally, through religion? Then only we try to look over strategies to realize that idea or mission.
For example, teachers… give a considerable amount of assignments. Do not give a too short time limit. Be more flexible in giving assignments. Ask the students one by one, have one-to-one conversations. Call their names one by one to start a lesson. Don’t push the online learning too hard, give time for a break in between the lesson. Ask how the kids are doing. Encourage them to tell their own stories during this time. Provide proper guidance for learning. Encourage them to think about what they could do and what difficulties they are facing in learning and living their lives. Ask the parents about their challenges and difficulties. Adjust your teaching style and assignments to the needs. And definitely so many more you could do.
Parents… you could ask your children how they are feeling. Help them with their school work. Ask how you could help them. Have discussions with the family members that probably you have not been there since years ago. Tell your spouse or children how you are feeling. Talk to your child’s teachers. Give encouragement and positive to teachers, your children and your co-workers. Exercise daily with your children. And definitely so many more you could do.
Kids… you could express your gratitude to your family and teachers. You could write a letter to encourage your friends and teachers. You could stop demanding things from your parents. Exercise more. Read more. Play less. Wake up early, sleep early. Help clean up your house. Help your friends. Give positive messages to your parents. Express your burden to your parents and teachers. Give food to those in need. Ask your teachers’ difficulties. Pray for the world, pray for your parents. Think of what you can do to help others. And again, definitely so many more you could do.
So many things that we could actually do as human beings. Practice empathy, exercise leadership, serve others, express love, ask what they need, give help, so on and so forth…
This period of time is a perfect time to reveal who we are as a person, and also a perfect time for us to grow and practice all these above-mentioned actions.
Let us be human. Let us take care of others as we take care of ourselves.