Teaching with compassion

11 April 2020


With the relentless urges to observe physical distancing, the need for compassion is becoming more and more pressing. Global calamities can be a cloud with a silver lining; they allow us to reconnect with our sense of humanity and to reach out to others, regardless of our differences.

Compassion is nothing but what we are already all going through – suffering together, and thus better understanding the pain of others. All we need is to bring out the empathy and the altruism we all harbor, and channel it into actions of help and support. It may be helpful, therefore, to become more conscious of our compassionate natures.

Be more compassionate:

  1. Be Attentive & Perceptive: Try to be more perceptive of and sensitive to other people’s pains, fears, discomfort, etc. Avoid focusing only on your own. 
  2. Empathize: Try to put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Avoid dismissing their suffering as “Don’t we all!”
  3. Support: Try to show that the other person is not alone and abandoned. Physical isolation can in no time cause despair. Avoid thinking only of your own needs. 
  4. Communicate: Try to listen more; not everyone has the words to express the turmoil of their emotions. In addition to kind words, they need a kind ear. Avoid preaching.

Be a compassionate educator:

This is the opportunity to establish more profound human connections with your students and to change their mindset from studying towards an exam, to learning for life.

  1. Don’t talk AT your students, talk WITH them. 
  2. Avoid “deadlines”, offer “lifelines” 
  3. Don’t stress quantity, focus on quality.
  4. Don’t assume all is well; tune in to your students’ fears, anxieties, despair and help them back on their feet.

Let us learn from the current crisis, and let us come out of it ready for a better world.