Dr. Vanessa Lapointe, a registered psychologist with a focus in working with children and families and a Canva for Education ambassador, says there is no question this pandemic is having an extraordinary impact on children.
“During this time, adults have experienced a high degree of stress around all of the unknowns. That kind of energy from parents, caretakers and other adults is where kids are taking their cues from,” says Dr. Lapointe.
“To help alleviate the emotional gravity surrounding the current global environment, the best way to talk to children about big life changes is to make sure you communicate on their level. Children, regardless of age, want concrete answers to questions. The more adults can be the providers of information, the more at ease and confident children tend to be in their own environment; it lessens anxiety and makes them feel more in control. If you don’t happen to have the information, then saying something along the lines of, ‘We’re not really sure, but together, we’re going to find our way through it,’ is still as important a conversation to have,” explains Dr. Lapointe.
Students are not the only ones feeling strained by the pandemic. According to the survey, 65 percent of educators are fearful of being personally exposed to COVID-19, with a quarter of all respondents lacking faith in their educational institutions’ ability to keep teachers and the broader school community protected against COVID-19. Furthermore, 85 percent of teachers surveyed claimed remote learning is making it difficult to maintain a connection with their students.
Building and maintaining a connection with each student is absolutely critical in this current climate. To empower teachers to build the much-needed foundational connection with students this school year, Dr. Lapointe recommends several strategies to help educators build relationships and maintain connections with students in this new normal.
Top tips to build teacher-student connections during COVID-19:
1. Make sure you understand what’s going on for your students. These are unprecedented times and you can be a source of guidance and compassion for them.
2. Create an environment that feels safe. Safety will stem from routine and structure in an empowering way; get focused and set your physical or virtual classroom up so your students can lean into the comfort and stability of the environment.
3. Make sure you value relationships over curriculum. Make it very clear to your students that their well-being is what’s most important to you.
Material from a press release was used in this report.
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