As the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold globally, the return to school stresses also continue to mount. As an educator and parent, I am most certainly anxious about the unknown that rests ahead.
Thinking about my own children going into Grade 5 and 2 respectively, I’m constantly thinking not solely about their physical well-being but their mental and emotional health as well. Knowing that this school year will be decorated by PPEs, new routines, staggered recess and lingering health threats, I’m hoping that an intentional balance between academic success and overall well-being can be found.
This is all to say that as educators return to school in September and amidst all of the challenges that rest ahead, COVID-19 does present us with the opportunity to reset the norm. Whether this means that curriculum takes a back seat at the onset to finding new pedagogical opportunities with through technology, there is a need to revisit what teaching and learning really means.
As educators we all must revisit our individual and shared purpose. What’s our critical motivator? In regards to the COVID era, I’m personally reminded that schooling must be and is so much more than content and curriculum. I’ve echoed this sentiments before on this very site and must reassert this more now than ever. Schooling must be about who our students are, how they learn and important not just what they learn.
More now than ever, as we return to school within a landscape of diverse COVID modelling, we must ensure that we truly know who our students are and the emotional space in which they are returning to school. Urgently, although we have all been in this COVID-19 reality together, our individual experiences has not been the same. Thus, more now than ever, our relationships with students will be critical in helping grow their success. Ultimately, for us as educators to truly understand and value our students, we must know ourselves in all forms.
For example, I know that during the time of COVID distance learning my empathy for students and their experience truly deepened. As I played Nintendo Switch with my kids, swam in water behind my father-in-law’s cottage, ordered toys and 4K movies on Amazon and even renovated my house, my pandemic experience was unique. Although, we truly missed and longed to see grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends, we were safe and enjoying the frills of our privilege. This was not the case for many of my students and perhaps even colleagues. Everyone comes to the classroom with their own narrative and thus to serve students the best we can we must unravel not only their story but our own. How can we truly foster student success if we don’t either know who are students really are?
This is all to say that as educators reflect on today’s many COVID challenges at the centre must be the promise of purpose. Now is the critical time to remember that as educators we serve children – they are our guiding force not curriculum expectations.
So, let’s have a conversation. Let’s share and look to September with the provocation to Reset the Norm and discover what teaching and learning in the COVID-Era could look like.
Let’s talk about our success teaching and/or leading during the pandemic along with our challenges and next steps;
With Dr. Marlyn Morris, an expert is curriculum design and equity training, let’s reflect on anti-racism and what it means to be a culturally relevant educator;
Let’s reflect on the growing need for enriched tech-ed and how technology can be used to support student well-being and enable transformational teaching and learning;
Let’s come together as a community with purpose.
Join me and Dr. Marlyn Morris on Wednesday August 19 at 9:00am for a FREE interactive webinar on Re-Setting The Norm: Teaching an Learning in the COVID-Era
Click on the following link to register: