Technology has been a blessing and a curse during the pandemic. It has allowed some degree of education to continue, even if it is only in a remote setting. However, it has also been a curse in regards to helping the well-being of some students. Some students do not even have access to wifi. In addition, the screen is an easy way to hide. Hide struggles, hide confusion, hide responsibility – hiding is easier through a screen than in a classroom.
So, how are educators supposed to reach students when they may not even be aware of what the students are dealing with? Here are a few ideas to reach struggling students.
- Prioritize the students, not the assignments or grades. Students may be struggling with a variety of issues. They need to know that, as educators, we are first and foremost concerned about them. I also know as educators, we value and care for our students immensely; however, we need to make sure our students know that and hear us say it.
- Create assignments that allow students to express their thoughts. A simple journal entry can give students an outlet to express themselves. This allows a student who may be reluctant to reach out to someone for help, to share what he/she is struggling with. Open-ended questions allow students to give more information than a simple yes/no answer. This type of question forces the student who wants to hide (and not tell anyone) to at least give a little more information.
- Reach out to students individually. Even if they say, “I’m good” – let them know you are available if they have questions or need to talk.
- Laughter is the best medicine. We all need to laugh as we are enduring a very difficult time in history. Make a joke, laugh at yourself, have a little fun. Note: laughing should NOT be at someone else’s expense. It is not okay to make fun of or mock other people.
- Reach out to parents. If you are worried and the student does not seem to be responding to your attempts of help, contact parents.
Educators, parents, and students have been through so much during the pandemic. I’m sure most educators are already doing these items. It is a reminder to everyone that we need to let others know we are there for them. We care and know that this is a difficult time, but we are listening and helping each other through it.