Of Note: An Educational Philosophy for All Time


It's Okay to Be a Different Kind of Parent During the Pandemic. by Mary Katharine Ham
The Atlantic, April 8, 2020

"Life changes fast. Life changes in the instant. You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends." Joan Didion's wise words are cited powerfully in Mary Katharine Ham's recent essay in The Atlantic, "It's Okay to Be a Different Kind of Parent During the Pandemic." Recounting her own experience of instantaneous yet lasting change when her husband died in a cycling accident in 2015, Ham gives readers, including parents and educators, permission to navigate the COVID-19 crisis on their own terms. Observing the many different but equally panicked pleas from parental posts to social media including "I'm not a stay-at-home mom" and "I'm not a homeschooling dad," Ham offers lessons learned the hardest way – from grief. Applicable also to educators who care deeply for their students, colleagues, and schools, Ham counsels, "when something outside your control changes your life, it's what you do with what you can control that really shapes [your] children." As schools continue to contend with closure, and educators continue to teach while shifting their practice to online learning, supporting the social-emotional well-being of students, and partnering with parents who are anxious at home, such stories of resilience are particularly fortifying. Echoing the wisdom of others who have confronted challenges in the past and persevered to new strengths, Ham voices an educational philosophy for all time, with crisis as our collective teacher.

Submitted By: Jessica Flaxman, 120 Education Consultancy, Belmont, MA

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