The Importance of Community: How Even Small Gestures of Support Can Help All Children Learn During the Pandemic
By Mary Lemon
Mary Lemon, Director’s Assistant at the Center for Technology in Education, supports the business efforts of leadership around program activities, grant submissions, written communications, and day-to-day operations. She hails from Baltimore City — home of the best blue crabs on the east coast — and enjoys music, cooking, entertaining, and friends and family.
During the pandemic, we have learned many things about how we live, how resilient we are, and what it’s like to be separate, each on their own island. We have also had to take a closer look at how children learn and how we teach them.
While many of us are privileged to have the applicable education, talent, and financial resources accessing every tool afforded to us to help children to succeed, we must consider the struggles that exist in homes where time, resources, finances, and education are limited or veritably non-existent.
During my experience home-schooling my grandson during virtual learning, I have seen the faces of these children who have limited resources; and not just educational: at times this lack has included food, clean clothing, or just someone to cheer them on.
I can’t say specifically how we as a community can help or change the dynamic in another’s household, but I truly believe that we as humans have a responsibility to offer help where we can. Here are some ways I’ve tried to support families in my community who are struggling with their childrens’ education:
- I have developed relationships with families while teaching my grandson, and have let them know how they can reach out to me directly should they need it.
- People underestimate what it takes to simply get their children online to begin their school day. I offer assistance with day-to-day login and help troubleshoot technical issues when I can.
- I try to share tactics that have worked for my grandson to keep kids focused and inspired. I’ve found that they like to understand the login and online learning process, and to know what to anticipate in their day.
- I’ve seen that while some children have adapted to a virtual learning environment, many who were doing well with in-person learning now find themselves struggling.
- I’ve shared free resources for learners that I’ve come across in my professional and personal life, and let families know how they can access them.
Something that may feel effortless to you could mean the world to a family who faces a million seemingly inconsequential challenges every day. I have noticed that with these small gestures, I’ve been able to help improve the confidence and energy levels of children and their families by removing some of these challenges that can become huge roadblocks and a major source of stress. This isn’t my job, but it’s my small contribution to my community, and from my perspective, every little piece adds up to create a whole: a whole child supported, a whole community benefiting from their success. In a perfect world, we all win.