Center for Teaching, Learning & Engagement

@ Glendale Community College, Glendale, Arizona, USA

Lessons Learned During the Pandemic: Extending Grace to Students and Ourselves

I recently took part in the Lunch and Learn “Expecting the Unexpected” hosted by our CTLE and eCourses Committee. One of the questions we discussed was the unexpected results of the pandemic both personally and professionally. I didn’t answer it, but I’ve been thinking about it. I’ve learned a lot, but one lesson I’ve learned is to extend more grace to myself. What do I think extending grace to myself looks like?

  • Not working on Saturdays and Sundays and not being critical of myself for not doing that (and then secretly learning to love it),
  • Shortening my to-do list and being happy about crossing off the fewer things I got finished,
  • As a result of the last one, being more present with the people I’m with (even if virtually) and not being upset that I wasn’t multi-tasking or living in the future-of-all-I-have-to-do (see fig. 1),
  • And then, as some great philosopher once said, I am “Letting that shit go.” That’s right, I’m trying to shorten the time I worry about things that don’t care if I’m worrying about them.
Fig. 1 Future-of-all-I-have-to-do

And now, as a result of lessons being learned, when a student reaches out to me to tell me about a beloved family member dying and that she hasn’t been able to submit her assignment because it’s hard to think right now, what am I doing? I am looking at what the assignment is assessing, then looking to see if that is being assessed in other spots in the class. And then I am excusing that assignment for the student and letting her know if she wants to work on it, she can. Or, she can do it later. Or, she can skip it. I am trying to pass that grace along when and where I can.

What have you learned during the pandemic? How are your interactions with students different? Share in the comments.

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