“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass. It’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
COVID-19 life is heavy, especially for educators.
I can’t pretend like we don’t have an ENORMOUS challenge on our hands.
I’ve been concerned about how we can support all students socially, emotionally, and academically from the moment our brick-and-mortar school buildings closed their doors last March. I’ve been thinking about their safety. I’ve been thinking about our health and wellness, too. My family. My friends. Our country. This pandemic is scary and has turned our personal and professional worlds upside down with no actual end in sight (yet). And now here we are, preparing to launch what can only be described as an “unprecedented” 2020-2021 school year, and my list of questions is still far more extensive than my list of answers.
One of the statements I keep hearing (and have said myself) is:
We aren’t prepared for this.
This is a fair assessment. It’s just the nature of this crazy situation. The big decision makers are doing their best to prepare for this fall as are teachers “in the trenches” and everybody in between. Yet, we’re scrambling, and it’s not a good feeling.
There are a multitude of ways we could feel more comfortable entering the virtual models our school divisions selected by necessity. But, the “glass half full” solution seeker in me also wants to challenge this thinking.
What if we flip this script (that everybody but educators seem to be writing) and devise a new narrative based upon the premise that, well, we’re actually pretty, dare I say it, AMAZING?
Maybe, just maybe, we are prepared for this, at least much more than we realize.
Maybe you are prepared for this.
Maybe you are exactly the person your students or colleagues need to guide them through a time that will remain etched in their minds forever. The good. The bad. The ugly. Maybe you will be their “good” part.
Maybe your inclination to support, enlighten, motivate, innovate, or advocate is needed right now.
Maybe your instructional or leadership expertise will transfer to optimize the online learning experience.
Maybe relationship building, the core of your belief system, matters more now than ever.
Maybe you’ll create opportunities for meaningful social interaction at a time when meaningful social interaction is sorely needed.
Maybe all the technology you’ve learned (and unlearned) over the years has laid a foundation for success.
Maybe everyone now realizes the importance of prioritizing social-emotional learning.
Maybe you’re already accustomed to surviving and thriving in unpredictable environments.
Maybe the buzz word “grit” describes you.
Maybe your creative, collaborative team can collaborate to create ways to combat this crisis.
Maybe springtime taught parents to appreciate your work more.
Maybe you actually did need all that “mindfulness” stuff after all.
Maybe many more soldiers just joined your army to fight for equity in education.
Maybe you’re a life-long learner who will learn lessons through this that will last a lifetime.
Maybe your students will, too.
Maybe your “why” is more vivid than ever before.
Maybe this is the year to finally reimagine education.
Maybe all the hard work you’ve dedicated to education has prepared you for this very moment in history.
This school year won’t be perfect. Not even close. And we’ll have to learn how to say “no” at times. To draw lines in the sand. But fortunately, this situation is temporary.
Disappointment. Fear. Anxiety. Sadness. Frustration. We’re allowed to feel feelings that are less than positive. Noticing and naming these emotions can help us get unstuck. Let’s just try not to wallow in them.
And let’s never for one second doubt our capabilities. We are a fiercely talented and passionate family of professionals who can overcome anything with open hearts and open minds.
Maybe, just maybe, we were sort of actually made for this.
*For practical support with virtual learning please see my recent articles Virtual Learning: 20 Structures for Small-Group Instruction, Virtual Learning: 25 Social-Emotional Learning Activities, Virtual Learning: 13 Tips for Zoom Breakout Rooms, Virtual Learning: 33 Ways to Build Relationships, and Virtual Learning: 10 Best Practices for Parents.