COVID 19: These Are Teachable Moments

Even with over 30 years of teaching experience, I sit here wondering how all of this will turn out. I reflect on the challenges being faced for teachers and learners all over the globe, and the impact this will truly have. But, I am also trying to stay present in the here and now. 

As teachers, we are trying to adjust to working from home, possibly with a house full of others, and trying to figure out how to teach online. We worry about our safety and that of our loved ones. We worry about our ability to get food and the essential items we need (like toilet paper!). The level of the unknown can feel overwhelming as we watch the news, the stock markets, our 401K’s, and our health care colleagues who are on the front lines. Our students are experiencing much of the same stressors we are, in addition to worrying about the future of their education and their dream to become a PA. We are trying to teach, and they are trying to learn under strained and challenging conditions. Nothing feels “normal.”  

But we are teachers, and these are teachable moments. 

As future health care providers, our students need to be flexible, adaptable, and resilient to navigate the ever-changing medical landscape. Like what to do when the lights go out in the OR in the middle of a surgery!  This unique situation of COVID-19 has presented the opportunity for us to remember who we are as teachers, the influence and impact our words, behaviors, and actions have. Students look to us for guidance and stability.  It doesn’t mean we hide that we, too, are being significantly affected and are worried about all that is happening. We are in this together. We ask for their patience as we find our way to adjust our teaching and acknowledge their fears and frustration trying to navigate learning differently.  But we need to keep teaching, and they need to keep learning, and we are at the helm of that. Although we need to focus on finding ways to help them achieve the course outcomes, this is also where I believe we, as teachers, can influence our students on levels far beyond cognitive knowledge and academics.

This is a time for us to role model resilience, adaptability, flexibility, and humility in the face of the unknown. It is moments like these when, as teachers, we are graced with the opportunity to touch a life, open a heart and make a difference that will forever change the life of a student for the better. This is when, as F. Sionil Jose stated, "The influence of teachers extends beyond the classroom, well into the future."

Isn’t this truly why we teach?



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