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Pandemic can be a teachable moment for students’ character development


As a new parent, it’s easy to think about all the things we’re going to teach our children one day, but the best surprises are what they teach you. When a kindergarten teacher recently shared with our team that during a virtual class meeting her students began telling her how much deep breathing has helped them when they’re feeling upset or frustrated during the pandemic, I was filled with joy — both as a mother and school partner.

Two Metro Nashville Public Schools — Cole Elementary and Goodlettsville Elementary — are leading the way in helping students move through the pandemic and school closures by focusing on developing coping strategies and strengthening students’ well-being and character. Despite the fact that students and teachers are not physically together, they are teaching and learning expression, connection and personal development online.

As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic, we are all living a shared trauma. Our places of gathering, learning, playing, celebrating and praying are changed and taken from us. Families are struggling to make ends meet. Students may be isolated in dangerous living situations. Without being able to read their students’ faces, teachers aren’t able to fully get a sense of what they might be experiencing or how those students’ feelings are affected their learning. We’re not able to count on a familiar smile or an encouraging hug to get us through a tough day.