I keep seeing posts (by noneducators) talking about the loss of learning happening right now. This morning, though, spent with a team of principals in Virginia focused on the positive nature of all that has emerged in the world of education over the past year. One principal even coined it as “The Year of Possibilities” and as “Our Moment to Shine.”
This is what good educators do – we adapt and build on the positive instead of focusing on the negative. This group of 20 elementary principals went even further and identified practices that have emerged during the pandemic that are better than “normal” school and that they want to ensure continue.
Here are some they shared:
- Teachers are being more intentional at forging real connections with students.
- Parent communication has increased via virtual means (i.e. IEP meetings, teacher/parent conversations) and has become more meaningful.
- Teacher collaboration has increased. We’ve basically all been forced back into that “first year teacher” experience throughout COVID. It’s opened lines of collaboration among peers like never before.
- The classroom as a community is being valued differently.
- Educators at every level have seen the importance of practicing self-care and are being more intentional in taking care of themselves so that they can better care for others.
- For those who have students on-campus, office referrals are at an all-time low. New kinds of transitions, lunch time in the classrooms, and a lower number of students in a class are attributed to a higher sense of community and responsibility.
- Teachers have developed deeper relationships with students and keeping their social-emotional wellness in focus.
- Student performance has actually shown to be on or above grade-level.
Ted Dintersmith has created a fantastic video on how this is not a “lost year” but rather a “found year” full of potential for changing the norm in how school is done for good. Teachers and administrators, keep doing the work you were created to do and block out the negativity from those outside of education. You are seen, you are valued, and you have made this a year of possibilities for your students.