A Teaching Moment
For Today and the Future

For nearly a quarter century, I have told my classes that I love teaching. Beyond that comment, I also repeated another statement, which is as often, which is that the grade that the registrar receives is irrelevant if they get a C or better. However, the grade that society gives them is critical. However, before the coronavirus (COVID-19) got to Chicagoland where I teach, I had for another critical teaching moment, which included two levels.

The coronavirus pandemic

The first level was related about them going on a field trip for a survey class on world religions. Every student that I have ever taught must attend a worship service outside their faith or their families religious background. I intentionally schedule that field trip later in the semester since many students haven’t even heard about some religions, like Jainism or Zoroastrianism. Scheduling their individual field trips later in the semester was designed so that the class could learn about most of the religions, some of which they had never heard about prior to the class.

One of my students, Rawan, emailed me about a couple unrelated questions, which I addressed. Since the class would be on spring break, I added that due to the coronavirus was soon to arrive, she could use the week of vacation to deal with the field trip. Since I wanted to help one student, I posted the same comment to both my classes. If they wanted to take advantage of their spring break, I would allow them do their field trip due to the impending invasion of COVID-19.

I posted an announcement at the beginning of spring break about getting that assignment done before Chicagoland has any confirmed cases of COVID-19. I have checked many times per day with the link that I posted to both classes from the Johns Hopkins University Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering (CSSE). There are two reasons for that checking. I want to know the situation related to COVID-19 in Chicagoland and in Myanmar where my granddaughters attend school.

The new world’s normal….

The second level of this teaching moment moves beyond the coronavirus to everything in life. What has the first level taught us when we deal with all the other problematic times. The coronavirus isn't the only thing that you will have to face in life. Hopefully, you grasp at least these three items.

• Think about the issue that is causing some problem.
• Look for informed authorities for help.
• Then make an appropriate plan of attack.

I told my classes that I am some old college professor, but the Chinese venerate their elderly people due to them being wise. The wisdom, in my age group, isn’t due to having a high IQ but due mostly to past mistakes from which we learned.

Now, I follow my three items that I just mentioned. It is important to act once you decided upon something. Sometimes during our lives, students and I think, check with those in the know, and have a plan…but don’t act.

This is a personal example. I wanted to refinance my home last week. My bank would refinance me at 3.1%. However, I waited. When I finally decide for sure, the rate had risen. I still can refinance it now, but I will pay for my mistakes. That was a teaching moment for me.