The negatives of the pandemic are abundant so I am going to stick to three of the positives I identified from the pandemic.
We are stronger than we know
During the pandemic we all had a hard time. I was reminded of a TED talk I watched with my Reimagine cohort. In this talk, Ash Beckham spoke about how everyone in their lifetime experiences hardship. This resonated with me since worldwide we were experiencing hardship. I know that not only am I stronger than I know but so are students, neighbors, colleagues, friends, and strangers. There is no doubt that the pandemic has altered all of us in some capacity but I am confident that we are stronger than we know.
We are more inventive than we know
March 2020 put us all in a “make-it-work” situation as we prepared to go fully online to support the education of our students. This event has propelled faculty and students to new heights of innovation. We have found ways to connect with one another, learn from each other, and be more flexible when things inevitably deviate from our intended outcome. I know that I am more inventive and flexible when things fall apart in my lessons and life. I have seen people around me doing the same thing. We are more inventive than we know.
I am more empathetic that I know
I have always struggled with the ability to empathize with students. Most of it comes from the more pessimistic outlook that I have that students are constantly trying to get out of completing the work for my courses. The outlook is bleak and gets me and my students nowhere. I have found that the pandemic has made me more empathetic in the sense that I am able to imagine how the student is feeling and thinking during times of hardship. This has helped me to implement a grace period on assignments and I weigh the students perspective on the issue they are facing before responding to them. My communication has improved through the pandemic and I know I am more empathetic because of the pandemic.
The pandemic has been unimaginable for all of us but I hope that you (all of you) can also see how amazing we have become by living through a pandemic.