Autumn is the season of cooler weather, crisp leaves on the ground and corn on the cob — all worth looking forward to for sure. But, for me and others in public education, September is also our New Year. It’s a time of starting again, the excitement of seeing the kids back in classrooms, maybe some fun new equipment in the school and the optimism of tackling new challenges with some energy in one’s personal tank.
It’s really a great time of year.
As I enter my 34th year in public education that excitement is still there — freshly polished floors, big ideas on our learning agenda and a bunch of exciting new projects to tackle.
Yet, similar to last fall there is still a feeling of anxiety amongst many in our community. COVID continues to provide a significant distraction for many and a challenge for us as we focus on teaching and learning.
I was recently asked to write an article for a local magazine on how we’ve managed our schools throughout the pandemic. There is, without question, a lot of anxiety from this health crisis, but what a great opportunity to share some of the positives we can take from our current situation.
There are always lessons we can learn, changes that are beneficial and momentum that we can use to instill growth. And while uncertainty can breed worry it can also be a springboard for necessary change.
You can find the article from Seaside Magazine on their website, but I’ve also reproduced it for you below.
SAANICH SCHOOLS – CHANGE DURING A PANDEMIC
It goes without saying that COVID-19 has caused some significant upheaval in the public education system – for students, parents, teachers, administrators and support staff. Schools were closed in March, then partially re-opened with an emergency remote learning option in April, a partial opening in May and then fully re-opened in September with an optional transitional remote learning program. All of them complex on their own with each phase requiring different approaches, different resources and different thinking — all in an accelerated timeline.
There’s a certain peacefulness to the holiday season. I love this time of year.
For me, it’s one where I slow my pulse rate enough so I can see and hear the beauty that surrounds us — the twinkling lights that adorn our homes and offices, the peaceful music that fills our main streets, and perhaps even a gentle snowfall that blankets our landscape creating a certain stillness.
I have fond memories of all of these things from my childhood to the present. The holiday season rejuvenates me.
But, this year feels different. Very different.
The sense in our community is one of angst — of heightened anxiety instead of peacefulness. COVID-19 has a way of doing that. It certainly makes sense. We are living in an unpredictable world. Despite all of the prognostications and charts, tomorrow is uncertain and brings a sense of apprehension.
And yet, I continue to believe in our future. I believe in the power of HOPE — the importance of looking towards a brighter tomorrow. Our collective future is built on hope.
It’s what drives us in education — the belief that our efforts will result in a better tomorrow — where our students are taught to be solution finders, creators and innovators. Every meeting we have, every decision we make is focused on building capacity and resilience in our students. What we’re really instilling in them is HOPE. Hope builds belief in oneself and others. It builds character, self-worth and inspiration.