As I listen to news reports about the challenges educators, students, and families face during the pandemic, the only advice I can offer is to make these losses wins in the following ways.
Where do you want to grow?
Think realistically about the current circumstances, and choose a few areas that you can use to grow students' academic foundations and your practice at the same time. For example, simply to inspire students to spend more time finding, reading, and reflecting on awesome books is a win-win during the pandemic. With lives and connections less busy, there is more time for reading or listening to books online. If the whole country could uplift reading, that would be a tremendous win during this pandemic.
One problem we face in the world is that many cannot correctly interpret data and statistics. This hurts us as a people because it leads to poor choices wth respect to the leaders we choose, the policies we support, and the work we prioritize. Simply using news articles with stats and data is a good way to help students understand numbers better. This can be done from K-12 with articles that relate to students' interest and developmental levels.
Challenge yourself to listen to students, hear what they say, and respond with love and care. Virtual learning, in some ways, gives greater voice to individual students. Educators can develop their child-centered teaching skills and abilities with care at this time.
Pandemic teaching requires that educators, parents, and students work closely together. This is positive and there is room to elevate this teamwork during COVID-19.
Identify the key skills, knowledge, and concepts students need to work on, and demonstrate to students why these skills, knowledge, and concepts are vital for their entire life. Then work with students to strengthen their learning paths in those areas--teach students how to learn, how to be flexible, and how to strengthen these vital elements to good lifelong learning. Let students know that their ability to be flexible, open minded, and hard working during this time will serve them well throughout their lives.
Our losses can ultimately be wins if we take time to see the promise in the problem, and reflect about what we can do at this time to hone our craft, serve our students and selves, and do good work that brings strength and happiness today and into the future.