Normal does not exist. There is no such thing as “normal,” instead what the world is going through today is as what Meryl Streep noted in her 2010 commencement speech to Bernard College ”… a lot of change, resistance to change and then more change (Streep, 2020).”
COVID-19 has had a lot to do with this situation. Most especially in creating a world where we are all unsure about life around us and the way we used to do business, learn or interact with each other can be vastly different to what we are doing now. In trying to create stronger students who can adeptly deal with change, the IB Learner Profile recognises the importance of building resilience in students in order to encourage lifelong learning and the hope of a better world.
Resilience can be seen as the key ingredient in helping our students preserve through this climate of change. In fact, even before COVID-19 reared its ugly head, our students were constantly challenged by change, choosing subjects that will pave the way for their future, preparing for long and intensive exams, learning to write new higher level reports such as the Extended Essay, and entering new environments to provide service, complete a new activity or build on a skill. IB students are challenged to face new situations on a daily basis, and as a result, they have built up their resilience to persevere through the good, bad and ugly moments in life. This has made them stronger as a group of students and when entering the world they are more able to adapt to many situations.
Our students have demonstrated resilience over the past few months by working and sticking to their virtual school lessons, researching and supporting one another in building their understanding of topics, and learning new skills in lockdown, such as cooking, programming or even yoga. I am very proud to see how our students are now looking at creative/technical ways in trying to continue their education and experiences in school, even during these restricted times. I have had conversations about interesting projects that some students would like to start that really show a higher level of thinking, ingenuity and perseverance that we will move them past this situation. One such project is the IB Radio show, which is an initiative from the IB Student Leadership team to try to improve the positive mood and feeling in the school. This is done by playing music for the students entering the IB Building every morning, as well as providing important information to the student body through a Friday break radio program and interview.
The ability to not only cope with these challenges but to continue to progress demonstrates the independence, organization and resilience of our IBDP students. In the end, the resilient student will come out from this situation with many positive life experiences. The goal is not to let these situations bring us down, but instead ask how they can be used to build us up?
Key Stage 3-5 Humanities Teacher
Head of Year 13
Streep, M. (2020, April 17). Teen Vogue. Retrieved from 16 Best Graduation Speeches That Leave A Lasting Impression: https://www.teenvogue.com/story/best-graduation-speeches-examples-ideas