As a teacher we focus on the word understanding every working day. It is the goal we strive for in our profession. Understanding is defined as demonstrating comprehension, intelligence, discernment, empathy or the like: an understanding.
Teaching to mastery of a task or concept involves understanding. It also involves empathy on both the part of the learner and the teacher. Navigating day to day life during a pandemic has caused many people to question whether or not people understand the effects their actions have on others. I am guilty of listening to all the facts that come across my news feed every day. Numbers, symptoms, hotspots, masks, no masks, and social distancing, consume my morning news feeds. I crave information about the world around me, but I lack understanding because there are no hard and fast rules. When there are rules and outcomes that are consistent, understanding is easy. It is not easy now. There is no consistency. Things change by the hour.
I was finding myself really frustrated by images of young people gathering on beaches, in bars, and groups not protected by masks or social distance. Don't they understand? Even my nephew comes and goes from home without taking precautions to limit exposure. His parents are at risk. Every day my sister would tell him the facts. Each day when he comes home, he says "Don't worry mom, I am not sick..."
We have not mastered teaching understanding what it takes to stay safe around this virus. And we will continue to fail until we start asking what these young people understand. What do they comprehend? Life experience provides us with the ability to understand. Those of us who have lost loved ones have experience to guide us. We understand the pain involved in loss.
We are having to change the way we navigate through our days. Change is hard. Change is really hard, if there is not complete understanding. We will adjust. As a teacher, I will strive to understand my frustration. I will focus on listening to others and will be empathetic to what I perceive to be a lack of understanding. We all need to be gentle with each other as we strive to understand together.
This week's blog writer is Lynn Pollei. Lynn Pollei is an Art Educator at Pleasant Grove School in Shawnee Oklahoma. She graduated with a BA in Art Education from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire. Prior to her work as a teacher she served as a Humane Educator. Lynn works to combine her passion for kids, animals and the arts to promote compassionate and creative growth in those she teaches.