Talking to Your Students During a Crisis

By Huntington Learning Center

The global coronavirus pandemic has affected every person and industry around the world, including education. Schools everywhere have moved to remote learning – or are in the midst of doing so. As a teacher, this obviously has a tremendous impact on you your students, and some might handle it better than others. 

This new normal might never feel normal, but all of us must find a way to take steps forward. How can you be helpful during this global crisis? Here are some tips on how to communicate with your students about it: 

  • Acknowledge the range of emotions. This crisis might be the most difficult thing many of your students have been through in their young lives. Some might be traumatized, while others might be doing fine. Recognize each day in your interactions with your students that you understand that everyone is dealing with the situation differently, and those feelings are valid. Be as positive as you can without dismissing the very real range of emotions.
  • Be honest about adjusting. No school in the country (or the world) has been able to prepare for remote learning as adequately as they would have liked. So, there will inevitably be some bumps in the road with teaching in this new way. Let your students know that you’re doing your best and that you want their feedback on how they’re grasping things –because helping them learn is your priority.
  • Invite students to share. If your class is using discussion boards during this period, allow time each day for them to share how they are feeling about current events. Many of them might appreciate having people outside their families to talk with about their fears and reactions.
  • Encourage students to reach out for help when they need it. If your school district has deployed counseling resources for students, make sure they are aware of them. This is a time of uncertainty, and many students will need help navigating the changes, ups, and downs of the months to come. 

The world today is vastly different from the world a couple of weeks ago. Your students need you to lead them in this time of crisis. Be the role model they need, remind them to keep connecting with you and others, and do your best to provide them a sense of routine as you move ahead with remote learning for the next month or more. More than ever, they will appreciate it.