One Way to Help Us (and Our Class) Find Some Joy During a Pandemic

One Way to Help Us and Our Class Find Some Joy During a Pandemic

I was enjoying a dance at 5:15am this morning. Feeling like my carefree 21 year-old self in some club or bar, I was teetering around, bouncing off the walls. 

Except this morning my dance wasn’t caused by some sweet, sweet 90s R’n’B. I was skirting around fallen toys left by my two daughters. As I stepped on a pressure activated Elsa doll, ready to boom out “Let It Go”, I had the distinct impression my seemingly innocent girls had the skills of an Indiana Jones enemy laying booby traps around me.

It’s not bad enough to be up at 5:15am, but throw in sharp, spiky, noisy booby traps/toys with the potential to wake up the household (including a teething 18-month old who hasn’t been sleeping the best) and it leads to a state of not quite knowing what’s just ahead of you.

Sort of like what today’s announcements about a hard lockdown here in Victoria may be making you feel right now. (Or just that general sense of uncertainty that only a pandemic can cause, right?).

In schools and homes we’re all doing that 5.15am dance around a bunch of things that could cause further stress and headaches.

But, it isn’t all doom and gloom. Here’s some small ways I’m switching on a light among the darkness to avoid some missteps over the coming weeks, and help me deal with this time and help my peers and/or students.

Find One Thing Not Connected to School

Over the next six weeks, I’m focusing on basketball. Specifically my three point shooting…within my driveway. 

Every day, I’m scraping together at least 15 minutes of practise. While I still have slightly misguided aims of getting into the NBA (even though I’m only 6 foot 2…and nearly 35), the aim during this time isn’t about how many shots I get in. It’s about getting out of my house and doing something I enjoy.

My wife is simultaneously focusing on mastering brownies (and if I have to assist with quality assurance, then I’ll step up whenever needed). My little three year old is working on her skills to draw dragons, mermaids and Bluey via videos from Art Hub.

Pretty much, the rule is over the next 6 weeks we’re all doing things that make us smile, are actually doable and we’re really interested in. 

Help Your Students/Class to Find One Thing

From this week my class is following this rule, too. To kick things off, I’m sharing some videos of delicious brownies, dribbling and shooting drills and sketches of dragons. 

Why? I’m using them to highlight simple examples from our family about things that bring us joy, channel our strengths and also challenge us a little. 

Also, by sharing these updates I’m weaving a bit of modelled teaching into this so we go beyond the usual (read: boring) updates. What I’m really hoping and working towards is getting the class to share their interests, build connections, and recognise and celebrate success during a time full of surrounding stress and uncertainty.

Each day one student is going to share some sort of update about what they’ve been doing. Highlight reel, fake movie trailer, photo collage, photo story, audio recording. Whatever they choose. (As long as it is appropriate to your school/department expectations and guidelines).

Make it a bit different to your classic Show’N’Tell. Otherwise we get to the third day of this and everyone – including you – hates what’s happening.

If we’re not doing this during a typical Show’N’Tell, we’re thinking it.

I’m planning on getting the class to work towards asking and using these coaching and mentoring questions in their presentations/videos/updates. As we go they will adapt and change, with the aim that they keep the chats fresh and move them in different directions. Here’s a few to help:

What made you smile/laugh/facepalm?

What was a challenge?

How did you overcome it?

What’s one little step you’ll take now?

When we hear about it next, what do you hope you’ll be telling us about? 

(Then throw in, “What will help with that?”).

The aim then is that each student will begin to choose things that can bring a little bit of joy during tough times that may be coming. 

Further, while we are all separated, we could use updates within our classes to build community and connection beyond just out class and group of kids.

Google Classroom, Seesaw, Microsoft Teams, email, RSS feeds on school websites, school intranets for families, students and staff, even school Facebook pages. They’re all ways we can share these tiny moments of joy, pride, success or positivity with our class or school community.

Here in Melbourne, or wherever you may be dealing with this pandemic, at some point in the next 6 weeks we will feel deflated or face something bloody hard.

Like accidentally waking up a teething 18-month old by letting the stair gate slam as you sneak out for a morning run at 5.15am. Or, facing Stage 4 restrictions.

There’s always going to be difficulties. The trick is also choosing to seek and find small, yet powerful ways to give us times of positivity or enjoyment – no matter how fleeting.

Find a thing that does it for you, make some time for it and stick to it as much as you can.

If you’re really stuck, give some brownies a go. I’m always here to offer my tasting services, to help you out, naturally­čĹî.

Enjoyed this post?

Join hundreds of teachers in getting our best teaching tips, ideas and posts as soon as they’re written. We’d love to have you.

Our logo for Upgrade Think Learn

Leave a Reply