This week is the last week of our school year. Let’s make it a good one! But what does a good day look like for you?
“What if I told you that, at my best, I could see through the beauty of every person’s intellect and passion? What if I told you that, at my best, I could feel the value in every human life, and not just mine?” Mencius (372-289 BC) was a Chinese philosopher whose teachings are still studied today, including in the United States. At the time of his birth, China was an empire splitting into smaller states. Mencius was born in the state of Song, where the population was struggling to resist the influence of the neighboring states.
My best friend and I went to the campus of King’s College at the University of Cambridge for a special event. She was the primary speaker for the event, and I was her ‘photographer’ for the day. The university is located in the historical city of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. The university is known for its academic excellence and has produced some of the most renowned and prominent individuals in the fields of science, medicine and academia.
The past year has been a difficult one for leaders, educators, students, parents and activists, but they don’t seem to be discussing how to deal with it – or how to help kids deal with it. I met with Precious Allen to hear how she takes care of herself and others in the midst of a pandemic.
How have you taken care of yourself – physically, mentally, spiritually, etc.? I didn’t take good care of myself, even though I promised myself I would. I started the year eating healthy and exercising because I was rejuvenated after the winter break. But as soon as the school year started again, I lost sight of my goals and spent most of my time caring for my classmates and their families again. I try my best to take care of myself psychologically. After the pandemic, I had to see a therapist to help me deal with everything from COVID-19 to lawsuits to riots.
I faced a lot of challenges while also trying to balance other aspects of my personal life. I also try to pray and meditate when I can, but that too has fallen into oblivion. What are your best strategies for dealing with the stress of learning in a pandemic environment? I am at my best when I am with my fellow man. I spend most of the day working on social and emotional skills. This year I am focusing on self-awareness, social awareness and self-management. With everything going on in the world, I do my best to help my students process their feelings and name their emotions.
We do a lot of activities that look like games, but it’s really about learning. We also dance a lot, tell jokes and laugh. It helps to lift our spirits and make our day a little brighter. What have you learned about yourself this year? What adjustments did you make? I learned more about the power of empathy. Showing empathy for my students, my families, and my community has been one of the most important tools I have used during the current events of the past year. I have been able to build strong and lasting relationships with many stakeholders in education and meet families where they are.
This growth mindset has allowed me to make the necessary adjustments to ensure equitable support in my school community. How do you personally deal with stress? To put it bluntly: I’ve probably been to happy hour too many times. What do you want to do by the end of the school year? I’m just thinking about how I can continue to make my fellow humans feel special, seen and heard during our time together. We participate in Spirit Weeks, talent shows and craft activities. To reduce zoom fatigue. I try my best to leave breaks and space for self-expression and creativity. It gives us something to look forward to and creates lots of fun memories for all of us.
How can we show our appreciation for educators this year? I think the most effective thing an administrator, legislator, congressman, etc. can do is – listen to the opinion of the experts who work in this field every day. Teachers are entering uncharted territory and trying to provide the best possible education and experience. But our universities taught us how to drive; the pandemic taught us how to fly a plane at night. Teachers have a wealth of knowledge that can help shape education as policymakers and others work to redefine schools. They should address first and foremost the education professionals – the teachers. What do the big operators do? Good administrators listen to their teachers and show great empathy.
These administrators also allow teachers to teach in their own element and style. Teachers are constantly told to differentiate instruction for their students, but how often do administrators differentiate instruction for their teachers? Great administrators do not create a uniform environment for their teachers. They enable their teachers to grow and progress in their profession as educators.
When I was in high school, my writing teacher would assign us to write an essay about the topic “I’m at My Best When I’m With my Scholars”. The assignment was to write a five-paragraph essay. The teacher didn’t say that anything had to be written, but to just think about what that topic was.. Read more about why do you need scholarship assistance and let us know what you think.