It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by everything you’re hearing about the coronavirus disease right now. Every single day there are new press conferences from the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the National Board of Health and Welfare and (the other day) even the Swedish king (!), as conditions are changing hour by hour. Media are continuously updating and they provide stories from every possible angle.
Up until quite recently I’ve been fairly relaxed about the news. I’ve kept them at arm’s length and I’ve felt they didn’t concern me much. However, the more the virus (or rather the threat of the virus) has started to inflict on my personal life, the more worried I have become.
I’m a teacher and, although I live in Sweden where schools are still open, various scenarios are being prepared for. One very likely challenge we might be facing during these uncertain times is the one of distance learning,
If/when schools close and the pupils will be forced to stay home teachers will have to continue motivating and encourage their pupils to stay focused to keep the learning going. The last thing we want is for them to fall into a “summer slide” only halfway through the term.
Since long social media has been used among teachers for sharing ideas and helping each other. The current crises have created a huge increase of activity in groups on for example Facebook to help teachers, schools and school systems facilitate long distance student learning and provide social caring and interaction during periods of school closure. There’s a wide range of educational applications and platforms to use.
As the “Digital Learning Spokesperson” in my school I feel the need to be on top of things, so this week I’ve acquainted myself with a new tool I’ve never tried out before: Google Meet, which is a video conferencing app that allows you to make video calls with up to 30 users. Google Meet is a part of G-Suite, which also include Google Classroom.
Hosting a video conference with 26 pupils is an adventure to say the least. The first thing you need to do is to mute the pupils’ microphones or your conference will turn into a cacophony. You also have to make clear that the chat is supposed to be used for questions to the teacher or for collaborating with peers and not for posting “funny” comments or pictures. 😏
It might seem a bit harsh but since I’m a person who always strive to evolve, both professionally and personally, the coronavirus has forced me to learn about distance learning. It has been exciting and inspiring and a positive experience so far. I’m learning new teaching methods and I’ll continue to learn whenever there’s a school lock out, and that can’t be all bad.
However, the word “inflict” that I mentioned earlier has negative connotations. The negative aspects of what is happening to the world as we speak are horrendous and hard to comprehend. As the coronavirus spreads across the globe, it doesn’t only kill and destroy families. It also sets off reactions in society that will have consequences for years to come. I, for one, am very concerned about the world economy.
Tourism, as well as education and media/entertainment are industries that will see a great impact from the fallout. There already thousands of people who are losing their jobs in Sweden. Restaurants are going bankrupt and many businesses are struggling. Still, I hope the situation at hand also could provide an opportunity for leaders to innovate and find new ways of doing business.
Now, how has my own petty, personal, everyday life been inflicted by Covid-19 so far?
- I commute by bus to work every day and even though less and less people are in the bus and you are not allowed to talk to the driver, it feels pretty normal.
- I’m going to the gym on a regular basis. Group trainings are restricted but otherwise business as usual.
- When shopping for groceries the shelves are raided from toilet paper and pasta, but I haven’t had any problems getting the supplies I need.
- I had a few concerts planned that have been postponed (Bryan Adams, Jesse Malin, Best of Bowie), which is a drag but not unbearable.
- I’m being careful with where I put my hands and I wash them more often than I normally do.
- The outbreak of Corona has had a severe impact on the financial market and my savings are slowly going down the drain.
- Due to travel restrictions, I’m kept away from seeing my BF, who lives in Germany, for I don’t known how long. 😔
Historically, in times of crisis, when we are frightened and don’t know what the hell is going on, we turn to comedy and the corona crisis is no exception. Humour allows us to distract from the horrors of the world while allowing us to get our best and worst thoughts out of our heads. It’s a mad dog’s promenade and to ride this one out we need to help and support each other to keep the spirits up.