If your school is in the minority of those who have not been recently impacted by Covid lockdowns … good for you. It’s a slice of fortune you deserve and long may it last.
But if you’re currently teaching or leading in a school trapped in a lockdown, I wanted to spend this message encouraging you with the right words.
That’s my mission because I’d contend that some of the wrong words have been creeping into the public discourse about school closures in recent times – and I’d like to set the record straight.
I’m talking about the sudden horror at “days lost” when it comes to counting the toll of school closures on our kids’ educations.
Let’s be clear:
- Days attended is not the measure of an education. You don’t get an award at the end of Year 12 for merely turning up 25,278 or the possible 26,000 days in your school education. Days are not our currency – progress and growth is.
- Very few of your students have lost any days at all. It’s not a day lost when a teacher busts a gut to teach a Microsoft Teams lesson to you, when a teacher connects you with classmates in a Zoom breakout room and when a teacher checks-in on your wellbeing. It’s just a day harder.
- The negative impacts of school closures, as real as they are, are not irretrievable. As much as these are not “days lost” they are also not “days unrecoverable”. In fact, we will most definitely help our kids recover and grow … that’s kind of our thing.
Let’s treat this disruption like getting out of shape (that’s relevant for me anyway as Netflix has replaced the gym and as Twisties have replaced carrot sticks).
When our students return full-time, they might not be in the best educational shape … but we can fix that. When it’s time, we’ll get them back on a nutritious diet of academic achievement and a training regime of connecting positively with others.
My prediction is that they’ll lose their pudginess in quick time and be back on track for a healthy life of learning and love.
In the meantime, can we just be kind to each other and ease up a bit on the Twisties?
Keep fighting that good fight,
PS. So many School Leaders I speak to have been looking to emerge from “this” and lead the implementation of Restorative Practices. It’s almost like there’s been an awakening about what really matters in schools. I run “The Inner Circle” for these School Leaders and we just opened registrations for the 2022 intake. Have a gawk.
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