During covid-19 parents and teachers alike have worried and worked towards varied solutions for education. In such an unprecedented time in the world teachers and homeschool parents, who were never trained in the art of teaching during a pandemic are some of the unspoken heroes and heroines of the day. One if the items less spoken about is the emotional well-being of students, parents and teachers during this unprecedented time.
The emotional state of the home is directly linked to how well children are able to focus, learn and take in new content. In homes where parents are stressed about finances, empathetic children will feel uneasy, whether spoken or unspoken. In homes where substance abuse is happening, children may also experience a feeling of loss or deep sadness. This is coupled with the fact that nobody really knows when the world will get back to normal as we know it. As educators, it’s not only our responsibility to support children’s learning needs during covid-19, but to check in on their emotional well-being and suggest additional professional support to the family when needed.
Learning that does not touch the heart is missing key elements of the learning process. We are aiming to create learners who will not only grow up and offer facts and data, but will also be able to get into the heart of the matter through their data research and offer inventive ideas through a mixture of love for humankind and a desire to solve the problem at hand.
In class, this may take the form of writing a fable about covid-19 that must include all of the academic elements of a fable as well as include the feelings of the author. In this way meaningful discussion can happen during the learning that touches the heart of the matter.
As an educator, dancer, singer and songwriter, it has been a beautiful challenge to support children in these ways. My teaching doesn’t end in the classroom and my performing doesn’t end on stage. My overall goal is to use the arts to educate, to support and to heal. I released Tired Feet, with this in mind.
This song, along with the music video is a song of hope, aimed at speaking to poverty, relationship challenges and substance abuse as well as seeing release through dance and a person desiring to change their habits in order to salvage their relationship. Tired Feet can be a tool of dialogue for families, adults and communities, to look beyond the masks and the sanitizer, into what may be happening beyond closed doors. No matter what happens in life, please remember, that your dreams are still safe in your heart and one day soon, you will be able to realize those dreams.
“Moyo wangu, uko salama.”
If you or someone you know need additional emotional support please reach out to befrienderskenya.org.