Lessons from the Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has been a difficult time for everyone. However, it has also taught us some valuable lessons that we can, or rather we should, take with us into the future. As educators, we have had to adapt quickly to remote teaching and learning and this experience has highlighted some important aspects of education that may have been ignored or overlooked in the past.

One of the key lessons is the significance of flexibility and resilience. The pandemic made us change our teaching methods overnight. While those teachers, including Europeana and eTwinning educators,  who had already been interested in and used digital tools in their teaching practice, just switched to the new circumstances relatively easily and adapted quickly, there were also such ones who had been completely unprepared for the situation and so they were forced to take a giant leap into the digital world on the fly. This experience has shown us that we need to be ready for unexpected challenges and able to pivot quickly when necessary. Furthermore, teachers’ digital skills have stopped being perceived as a matter of one’s personal choice; they are treated as a necessity now.

The pandemic has also highlighted the importance of equity and access. Remote learning has brought to the forefront issues concerning access to technology and internet connectivity, as well as the impact of socioeconomic status on educational outcomes. As educators, we need to ensure that all students have equal access to the resources and support they need to succeed, regardless of their background.


The Internet is not a luxury, it is a necessity. /Barack Obama/

Keep Your Distance?

‘Keep your distance’ was an omnipresent slogan during the pandemic.  Do you remember all the posters, leaflets, yellow lines on the ground and all the other signs reminding us to keep the required distance to stay safe? Is the slogan still valid? Shall we keep distance from other people and instruct our students to do so?

Afbeelding van de poster ‘Voorkom verspreiding coronavirus’ van supermarkt Jumbo, met het advies om afstand (1½ m) te houden, op een pilaar bij de entree van winkelcentrum Mereveldplein te De Meern (gemeente Utrecht). by Goosen, D.C., fotograaf – The Utrecht Archives, Netherlands – CC BY.

When schools closed and students were forced to learn from home, many of them felt isolated and disconnected from their peers and teachers. Some students, the stronger ones, the ones who could feel their family support, did quite well and managed to use the curfew time to the fullest, just like one of our Erasmus+ students who wrote in a project newsletter reflecting on the experience, “I found myself during the pandemic” – she could focus on things like painting or exercising that  she had not done before due to the lack of time. For many others, unfortunately, the pandemic was a period of total isolation and feeling completely lost. Some broke down and still need specialist psychological help. As educators, we had to find new ways to maintain connections and provide support to our students while meeting them online only. This experience has reminded us that education is not just about imparting knowledge, but also about building relationships and creating a sense of belonging.

On the Teaching with Europeana blog you can find numerous learning scenarios that you can use freely to create or strengthen bonds between your students. You can search for them easily when choosing “Cooperative learning” from the right hand side menu. Also, check out The Digital Learning in the Pandemic handbook showcasing the best practices created and implemented by Europeana educators during the global pandemic. Bonds, emotions and emotional intelligence constitute an essential factor influencing the learning process, no matter what the circumstances are.

Have you learnt your lesson?

The pandemic has also emphasized the importance of self-care and wellbeing. Educators had always been known for their dedication and hard work, often at the expense of their own health and/or wellbeing. However, the pandemic has made it clear that we need to prioritize our own self-care in order to be effective in our roles. This means taking breaks, setting boundaries and finding the right work-life balance. Only by feeling good ourselves can we ensure the wellbeing of our students.

I am leaving now for my yoga class – this is  my way of taking care of myself – my mind and my body,  in the post-pandemic period. I’ve learnt my lesson. Have you?

By Katarzyna Siwczak, Europeana Education Ambassador

CC BY 4.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Het Utrechts Archief.

Leave a Reply

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial