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Superintendent's News

Posted: April 30, 2021

Lessons Learned

Supt. Elder reached out to students and staff to find out what they've learned during the pandemic.

The pandemic changed me. I bet it changed you, too.

It changed the way we work. It changed the way we play. It impacted our relationships, mental and physical health, politics and beliefs, diet and fitness, shopping, entertainment, travel.

And, clearly, it has affected the way we teach, the way kids learn, and the way we view public education.

After months of dining room tables as classrooms, the pandemic has brought a whole new meaning to Teacher Appreciation Day, which, by the way, is next Tuesday, May 4. Don’t forget to thank our teachers for all they do every year – but especially this year – for the betterment of our students.

Teachers, you are valued. You make a difference. To me, you are superheroes. 

Like the rest of us, many of our teachers have experienced a paradigm shift during this unconventional school year. As it draws to a close, it’s worth reflecting on lessons learned that could help shape the future of our profession.

Here are a few takeaways shared with me by students and staff:

Be patient. Technology will force this virtue on you! But we also have grown more patient with each other. I have seen more empathy in the classroom, more kindness in the workplace, more outreach with families. Because we are all in this together, we have learned that it’s better to build each other up than to tear one another down.

Don’t let a good crisis go to waste. Get out of your comfort zone and learn from challenging experiences. 

Kids are adaptable. So are adults.

Take a beat to process information before reacting.

Some conversations are difficult but necessary. 

Physical presence doesn’t mean active presence. Kids were able to turn off cameras during remote learning, which was a straightforward measure of disinterest. But sitting in a classroom doesn’t automatically mean a connection is made.

Make connections. You can start by looking into each other’s eyes, even when those eyes are peering over masks or through computer screens. 

Don’t worry. Take it from Bob Marley, everything is going to be alright, especially when we work together to solve problems. Collaboration and cooperation have been essential this year, as has creativity and innovation. 

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. 

Take care of yourself and each other so that we can all take better care of our students and community.

Everyone needs brain breaks.  

We can do more than we can’t.  

We can solve the unsolvable. 

Sometimes, being online is a good thing. Believe me, we haven’t seen the last of Chromebooks, Google Docs, Slides, Chat, Classroom, Meet. Our students, even the youngest among them, have become very good at using technology, as have our educators.

There are plenty of ways to continue incorporating what we have learned this school year in our classrooms, schools, and offices, even when we “return to normal.”

What is normal anymore, anyway?