Moving Forward in a Covid-Challenged Era
By Dr. Mike Hill
The year 2020 has not been a good year for education. In mid-March school buildings were suddenly forced to close while businesses shuttered, social gatherings stopped, and educators scrambled to convert to online teaching. During this whirlwind of changes, students had the added challenge of learning in unfamiliar settings and, in many cases, without the necessary resources to learn on high levels. Then in early Fall, schools gradually began re-opening their doors and were met with different but equally tough challenges as social distancing guidelines were put in place and teachers wresteled with complex teaching models. However, if we are to protect the quality of our students' education, schools and families must find a way to move forward in the midst of the challenges. Here are a few tips to help navigate these different times.
Keep doing what needs to be done. Anytime we are going through a crisis its imperative to keep doing the things that have to be done. We may not be able to do everything we used to pre-crisis, however when we fail to keep doing the things that need to be done we inadvertently make the crisis worse than it has to be. We should maintain as much of our daily rituals, routines, and traditions as feabily possible. A little familiarity in the midst of change can provide the mental breaks we need to keep going.
Promote a culture of excellence. It is tempting, and easy, to lower standards during challening times. Our focus shifts to survival mode as we become content with just getting by, but "growth comes through struggle". While challenge and change can often be unwanted, this same challenge can also be used to propel us toward excellence and innovativeness. It is imperative we approach every situation with an overcomer's mentality. There are enough complaints to go around in a crisis, but those who come out successfully will be the ones who keep looking for better solutions. Whether you are a parent, teacher, or school leader, whatever we have to do to ensure the quality of our student's instruction...it is worth it!
Be patient and flexible. Times are different, everyone is adapting to change and trying to figure out these new forms of teaching and learning. At some point we will all make mistakes as we learn to do things better. Not only must all stakeholders invovled be understanding, we must also be flexible as we guide our student's toward success. Yesterday's solutions, may not solve today's problems.
Stay focused and persevere. None of us know what may lie ahead; however, we must commit to moving forward with courage, boldness, and a committment to academic excellence and progress. Plans may change, but the mission stays the same. As difficult as it may be, staying focused on the mission of providing high quality education has to remain at the center of all we do. And when things get hard, and they will, we resolve to push ahead with tenancity and hope. As a family, as a community, let's keep moving!