… it’s an odd feeling to try to restart the conversation. But, this is Covid-time and everything feels odd. So, I thought I’d write a little bit. Here’s what I’m thinkin’…
When you don’t know what’s coming (and we sort of don’t, but we sort of do…), you try to cover as many guesses as you can. Then you plan for each one of those guesses.
Now, in my professional world, I’ve spent HOURS and HOURS collaborating with people to try to do this. For the sake of getting to the point, I’ll boil it down to this: In general, we need to prepare our students for two transitions.
- The transition back-and-forth between face-to-face teaching and learning in a classroom and digital teaching and learning (potentially) not in a classroom.
- The transition back-and-forth between in-class teaching and learning supported by a teacher and at-home (or otherwise off-site) teaching and learning either student self-directed or supported by a parent.
And then, let’s add a degree of difficulty (just for funsees) – Those transitions, when fully developed, should not create any drop-off in quality for student engagement or achievement toward the relevant goals of any of the lessons.
So, there. That’s what we’re up against. How the heck are we going to pull that off? Because right now, I’d say, most of the teaching-and-learning systems don’t function that seamlessly. They are almost all most effective for engagement and learning outcomes when the students are in the same physical space with the teacher and the teacher is mostly guiding the students through a mostly pre-planned sequence of experiences.
And, at least in my location this past spring, Covid disrupted that almost entirely. Suddenly, our educational system looked like a sports team that had only ever played home games. And it turned out, our system wasn’t prepared to travel as well as we’d have liked. That’s all right. The educators around me adapted admirably and effectively in a lot of instances. But, let’s remember the experience. In my spot, we started to keep our eye on Covid about March 1. People were fully spooked by March 13th. By March 17th, everything was shut. That’s two weeks. Yes, it could happen again. And if it does, it may not give us much warning.
Fair enough. I don’t blame anyone for being underprepared for what happened in March and April. It got intense in a hurry and put pressure on many of the exact things we’d never had a reason (given our limited resources) to prepare for. Once again, fair enough. But if it happens again this school year, and we’re AGAIN not prepared, then that’s on us. So, I recommend each teacher starting the year expecting to have to make those aforementioned transitions. And onboard your students and families accordingly.
Here’s a bit more about what I mean by that.
It’s good to chat with you all again. I’ll share more when I feel like I have something to say.