Starting tomorrow we begin a new chapter in learning and educating. Now that Spring Break is over for those of us here on Southern Vancouver Island, we need to get back to school, during this global COVID-19 pandemic. For the past two weeks there has been plenty of planning and talking about what school will look like and how we will deliver out-of-class instruction to our students as schools all over the world have been closed. Following are some thoughts that have been occupying my mind.
Meeting the needs of our students
Teaching is not an easy job. We know that. We plan, prep and try to make our lessons engaging and exciting for students. Now take all of that planning and deliver it via the app of your choice. How will it go? We won’t know until we push it out, until we interact with our students. I don’t know about you but I am nervous for our teachers. I am also nervous about being an educational leader during this time. I want to be able to communicate to parents that we are, indeed, ready to educate their children to the best of our abilities. And I want parents to be able to trust the school system and the people in it.
School will not look like it normally does. I read somewhere that you take what you would normally teach and cut that in half and then cut that in half again and that should be your expectation for how much students should be doing online at a given time. And this doesn’t take into consideration all of the other variables at play for our students and their families.
I hope during these times everyone remembers to be kind…
Meeting the needs of our staff as we venture online
Supporting and leading during these unprecedented times will be a challenge in effective communication. Upon reflection, I feel curious, excited and uneasy. Part of me is very curious to see what we do and how it will all turn out. A large part of me is excited because I know our teachers will hit the ground running when it comes to communicating with their students. They will connect with their students in creative ways and will make each feel special. Of that, I am sure. I have witnessed professionalism every day as I have worked with these amazing educators! I have watched teachers use their talents, strength and enthusiasm. It is with this talent and enthusiasm that teachers will figure out how best to reach their students for instruction. As leaders, we will need to be there for support and guidance.
Are you feeling vulnerable and anxious?
Are you a teacher who is prepping and planning for upcoming online instruction? How is it going and how are you feeling? What are you most excited about? Nervous about? Anxious about? What can your school administration or district do to alleviate some of your anxiety and feelings of vulnerability? How can you practice self care during times of unknowing? So many questions. Remember to reach out to your colleagues, administration and family members. We are your loudest cheerleaders! We will be here on the sidelines cheering for you and supporting you every step of the way.
Technology…will it be enough?
With all the talk of online teaching and learning, will the technology alleviate some of your anxiety or does it heighten it? Are you comfortable delivering curriculum in this way? The COVID-19 Pandemic has accelerated us forward to unknown places and spaces. What things have you been doing to get ready for this unprecedented back to school? Blog about it and post it for others to read. I am sure they will appreciate your insight and learning.