Can You Really Have Hope During a Pandemic?4 min read
My name is Trevor, and I am an optimist.
Along with topics I love to write, create videos, and speak about like Project Based Learning, student engagement, or storytelling, I often talk about hope. I believe that in the midst of our struggles, there is always cause to hold on to hope and find the beauty that is intertwined with our challenges. This past year, I’ve talked about it a lot, because if you are an educator— heck, if you’re a human— it can be challenging to find hope in this brutal season we are in.
Every time I post something on social media about having hope, I get a barrage of comments and emails saying things like, “How can you know that it’s going to be okay?” or “We’re going to be feeling the effects of this pandemic for years, how can you talk about hope?”
I do get that sentiment, it’s hard to stay positive through this cold, and often hopeless-feeling season. And I also understand how people can be tired of toxic positivity and people just burying their heads in the sand instead of facing and dealing with reality.
But just being positive is not what having hope means to me. Instead, it is the realization that there is joy to be found in the struggle, as well as knowing that we will not struggle specifically like this forever. We will get past this pandemic and we can be stronger on the other side of it.
I made a short video for you yesterday. If you’re a teacher, I hope it inspires you to keep doing the incredible work you are doing with your students. If you’re a school leader, I hope it does the same, and that maybe it can help your staff.
And it you’re just a person who is struggling to stay above the surface right now, you’re just surviving, I hope this video brings you a little hope.
Below is the transcript from the video. But like always, I recommend the video first!
Here’s the thing about hope, it doesn’t always make sense.
I remember thinking last June that we made it over the hump, that the worst of this pandemic was behind us, that there was bright shining hope on the horizon. But that obviously wasn’t the case. Anxiety is still at the surface, the virus is still at the surface, the stress, isolation, and pressure is still at the surface. Meanwhile we are treading water and barely keeping our heads above the surface.
How do you hold onto hope?
It’s funny, every time I post something on social media about having hope, I get a barrage of comments and emails saying things like, “How can you know that it’s going to be okay?” or “We’re going to be feeling the effects of this pandemic for years, how can you talk about hope?” Yeah it’s heavy. And I do get that sentiment, it’s hard to stay positive through this cold, and often hopeless-feeling season.
But then I think about how much my six-year-old has loved the first grade this year because his teacher still makes him feel special behind a mask or a computer screen. Or I think about the email I got from that teacher who was bursting with joy to tell me about how her students finally had a good discussion in her virtual classroom. Or I remember getting the phone call from my grandfather telling me he’s been vaccinated. Or I leave my phone at home and go outside with my family and remember how beautiful the world can be. Or I look back on the darkest moments from my own life and reflect on the fact that I’ve always got through them, and I always seemed to grow a little stronger on the other side.
Hope doesn’t mean finding a silver lining, that everything is just going to be perfect at a set date and you just have to hold on, you just have to survive. Hope to me means that there is joy to be found in the struggle, as well as the realization that we will not struggle specifically like this forever.
We will get past it and we will grow because of it. That’s what hope means to me.
And so I am going to hold onto it.