It would be easy to give in to the chaos and become pessimistic. Instead let’s reframe, find the opportunities available in this situation, and keep our sanity.
I have to admit that I have had moments of dread, a little depression, and a lot of disappointment. I was looking forward to all the training and coaching I would be doing in the next couple of weeks. And then schools closed (which I totally agree with) and my outlook wavered. My stress ramped up. As a planner who likes to know what’s happening, I went into mitigation mode. What do I need to do to get through this – mentally, financially, professionally? But stressing out and giving in to those negative feelings isn’t going to get the job done. Instead I have to grow and evolve and come out better on the other side of this. And it’s what you need to do, too.
For me, it meant exploring how I could support my teachers from on online platform, so that they can do the same for their students. I needed to learn and be better. I needed to invest time in broadening my skills. I already feel like I am better at what I do. That’s not a bad thing. It’s an opportunity.
And teachers, you have any opportunity – an opportunity to try something new, to explore, to take risks. At the districts I’ve worked with so far, administrators know that this a quick pivot. They know it won’t be perfect. They want you to do your best. And state testing requirements have been waived. So take this time to try something new.
Here are a few ways you can use this opportunity to your advantage and come out as a stronger teacher on the other side.
Learn, learn, learn!
If you’ve been on social media lately, you know a lot of people (i.e. Kylene Beers, Cornelius Minor) are offering free webinars and professional development. Take advantage! Learn something new while you are practicing social distancing.
There’s so much out there and so little time. Take this time to research resources, especially ones that are currently free. Check out my recent blog for a preliminary list. Or maybe check out resources you have online through your campus that you never had the time to check out.
Maybe you’ve wanted to use Google Classroom more to develop lessons – do it! Try creating hyperdocs to guide your students (I have a video link in a previous blog). Or maybe use Google Hangouts for conferences with students. Try it! What’s the worst that can happen? You get experience and know how to do it better next time!
Is there something you’ve been meaning to do but haven’t done? Do it! For me, that’s finally starting to write my next book. Maybe for you it’s reading the latest young adult lit, so you have a better idea of books for your classroom library. Maybe you’ve wanted more time to learn your new curriculum. Whatever it is, this is the time. Use it.
Most of all, take care of yourself and your family. Take advantage of time with people. And it doesn’t mean you have to be in person. I had a virtual happy hour yesterday with friends – something we rarely all have time for. It was rejuvenating. We all felt better afterwards.
And that’s what we all need to do now. Stay connected. Stay sane. Stay healthy. Let’s calm all the craziness and use this opportunity to be even better on the other side of this. We can be more skilled but also more empathetic and understanding. Something tells me we will also take fewer things for granted.
As always, if you need anything, please email me at Kristen@khliteracyeducation.com.
I am also planning some informal Zoom brainstorming sessions/check-ins, so be on the look out on social media.
Hang in there, friends!