Creating a Space for Yourself: An Introduction
Today was my first day of teaching for the 2021-2022 school year, + once again we are teaching online.
This is going on 3 school years now that have been affected by COVID-19 + have included online teaching in at least a portion of it. The last time I taught in my classroom was in early March of 2020, + the time when we will return to in-person learning is still not yet in sight.
Here in the Philippines, like other places in the world, the Delta variant is surging. Also, while researching for this post, I saw new information that the Philippines identified its first case of the Lambda variant (CNN Philippines).
In the last twenty-four hours, there were 14,749 new COVID-19 cases (CNN Philippines). This is all happening while a majority of the country's population is in quarantine lockdown here in Manila. Now, keep in mind, the Philippines is a third-world country + the cost to get tested for COVID here is expensive--around seventy U.S. dollars. $70 goes a long way here in the Philippines + I'm sure the number of people who can't afford a COVID test would be astounding.
Imagine a family of 5 having to get tested.
That's $350 right there, just for 1 round of COVID testing, + the odds that a family has to go through only 1 round of testing is unlikely, given the current state of the country.
That would mean 350 U.S. dollars paid multiple times over.
What is my point with all of these statistics?
My point is that if not everyone can afford to even get tested, there are people out there who are positive with COVID-19 + don't know it. That means they are infecting other people without knowing it. The number of 14,749 new cases must be far greater.
If all of this is true, then we can guess that COVID is not going away any time soon.
There is even talk of our quarantine lockdown here in Manila being extended.
And if that is true, what are we going to do in the meantime while we're all still quarantining in our homes?
Well, friends, I have an idea--let's work on creating a "space" for ourselves.
I talked about "spaces" today in my classes as I went over my syllabi with my students.
I told them my (virtual) classroom is always a safe "space" for them, no matter who they are or where they come from.
I also taught them how important it is to create a "space" for themselves--a place in their house where they can learn + be successful in their education. I turned this topic into a mini-project. I showed them photos of my workspace, we analyzed them, they analyzed their workspace, + finally brainstormed ways to make it better to suit their needs.
At first thought, you might think, why did she make a whole project just for where students place their laptops?
Well, because creating a "space" for yourself is important. This is something I'm learning.
These kids are doing school with siblings also learning in the same room, family members that come in + out, pets, etc. If each kid doesn't have some place to call their own, how will they be able to engage in learning?
I talked about all of this in my classes today, not realizing that I would end up writing about it a few hours later.
Now, I'm sitting here after work, sipping my herbal tea at the "space" I created for myself, + I realize something: today's lesson was bigger than I even intended or imagined it to be.
It was just supposed to help my kids make sure they were organized + prepared for school, but creating a "space" for yourself is such a big concept--literally or metaphorically! It's something we all can do--in our homes, our minds, our relationships, our lives.
This leads me to think about all of COVID--about getting stuck in the U.S. for almost a year, about getting engaged + married, about moving to a little condo in Manila, about battling my mental illness, about teaching online--all of the situations in life where I've been learning to try + make a "space" for myself.
Yesterday, my husband + I watched virtual church + the pastor quoted John 14:2--a verse that talks about God's "space" for His children in Heaven:
In my Father's house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
So, God is preparing a space in Heaven for His children.
But, that's in Heaven.
Until we're there standing in His glorious presence away from the corrupted world we live in, we are stewards of our bodies, our souls, + our minds here on earth.
Psalm 139: 13-14: For you formed my inward parts; you knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
The reason we breathe in the first place is because through the divine power of God the Creator, the Creator of cell division + multiplication + all other wondrous things, our lungs were formed. God gave us the breath of life--it was a gift. Our bodies are a gift. Our souls are a gift. Our minds are a gift. So why don't we treat them like one?
So, during this time of tragedy + heartache in every headline, a time of new COVID-19 variants entering different countries on the daily, let's work on making a space for ourselves. Let's create a space for ourselves while we wait, so that we will not waste this time we have.
I invite you to learn to treat your mind, body, + soul like the gifts that they are, with me.
Stay tuned + stay safe.