Subtle Yet Profound


Many of us have been preparing for a profound shift in how students experience “school” for many years. Of course, we never imagined any shift would be as abrupt as what we’re seeing.

And we never fathomed a world where we wouldn’t be able to celebrate students’ triumphs or support them in person in their moments of trepidation. Nothing about the COVID-19 pandemic feels right. It’s scary and these waters are uncharted.

We’re used to being together.

We’re used to being intentional.

We’re used to purposeful planning.

We’re used to scaffolding things just so.

We’re used to accommodating different readiness levels.

And what lies ahead of us will be hard. The things we always knew to be “best for kids” may start to look, sound, and feel different when viewed through the lens of eLearning and a connected pedagogy. But rest assured, we will get through this together.

As you and your colleagues embark on doing school differently, please give yourself lots of grace and don’t lose sight of some of the things that will continue to be important. You are enough for this moment right now, and you inherently understand what will continue to matter.

Checking in on people matters.

Partnering with families matters.

Prioritizing relationships matters.

Creating community with students matters.

Ensuring the health and well-being of all students always matters.

Taking care of ourselves, because healthy educators matter, matters.

I never imagined we’d be thrust into the deep end of distance learning so quickly. Seeing how educators are trying to respond to this emerging “new normal” on social media has been inspiring (and a little overwhelming if I'm being honest).

Amidst all the ideas and encouragement educators are sharing online, I recently came across a digital power-up resource that was based on my book, Renegade Leadership: Creating Innovative Schools for Digital-Age Students. (Shout out to Travis Thurston and Erin Wadsworth-Anderson for sharing this.) Since the resource can be used to support deeper learning and connection at all levels, I thought it worthy of highlighting.

With an increased sense of urgency, I decided to thumb through the book again to re-examine some of the resources and quotes. Here’s one I’ve been thinking about this week...

"The difference between what's best for kids

and what used to be best is subtle yet profound."

Figuring out what this means for kids now and into the future is part of the hard work in front of us. As difficult as change can be, our understanding and expertise with the things that matter will serve as a reliable foundation in these uncertain times. Remember your strengths and core convictions when looking towards an unknown future. These things will serve you and your students well.

Dr. Brad Gustafson is an elementary principal, author, and speaker. He believes schools can be spaces where creativity and innovation thrive, but only when we prioritize relationships and a relevant, connected pedagogy. 

 

Connect on email at:

AdjustingCourse@gmail.com

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