“Do not judge me by my success, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again”
So the good-ship “home learning” has launched, and you and your team have done your level best to make it as smooth as possible.
Once you get some momentum up things will smooth out, but right now there will be some choppy water – people will try whole class Zoom meetings, parents will realise their old computer is just that, someone else’s school will be perfect, . . . stuff will pop up for awhile.
But among all that, what is bubbling to the top, or at least percolating around the edges of your thinking?
Which parts of this remote learning adventure are throwing up possibilities? Sure, there are plenty of challenges, problems even – we weren’t ready for this. We didn’t get to practice and none of us have experienced it before. (To be fair, neither has anyone else in history! )
For me, it poses the fundamental question of which skills and dispositions we need to grow in our children?
The lens of crisis is revealing and what it shows is that the so called, “soft skills” are more critical than ever. Things like the ability to communicate, to build relationships, to show empathy, and to be resilient.
I’m sure most (or at least many) of you will agree. But to play the proverbial naughty advocate, do you think they will remain at the top of our priority lists after we all get back to our classrooms?
. . .
I believe there is both huge opportunity and huge risk right in front of us worldwide. The opportunity involves people identifying what really matters and carrying that clarity with them into the world when we have tamed this spiteful virus.
The risk is that we don’t.
Right now the spotlight of necessity is lighting up the type of attributes children, adults, – people need to develop to be ready for a future where the whole world can stop and the only way out is to work together for a common solution. This uninvited virus is a game changer.
What are the fundamental attributes that are making some individuals successful and communities strong? I want a short list of things that our school can embed into what we do. Some are already there, but some have just gotten promoted to the front of the line.
And one that is making a bid to be at the very front is resilience.
“Resilience – the ability to be happy , successful , etc. again after something difficult or bad has happened.”
We can see it in our leaders and we can see it in some of our kids and their parents. But where it is missing, it takes a terrible toll and the ripple effects touch many others negatively. Now is the time to start changing this.
A key step in a leader’s role is modeling, so what are you doing to ensure you are the Ashley Bloomfield of your team? He seems to be showing amazing resilience in very difficult conditions, but how can we mere mortals build more of our own? A solid place to start are the Mental Health Foundation’s Five ways to Wellbeing which Steve has previously shared.
Once we are intentionally doing some of these resilience building activities, I believe we have a responsibility to model this. Do we let others see us deliberately doing things that keep us well and effective as leaders? Things such as prioritizing space to think, and exercise? Things such as saying “no” when excess demands are being made?
We all know that people see more truth in what we do, than in what we say. In this regard, is your messaging to your team consistent? How deliberately resilient would your team see you trying to be?
This crisis is a huge opportunity to reset the fundamentals in how our schools might best serve our students moving forward, and also an opportunity for us to walk the talk to empower others.
Soft skills have just proven to be anything but.
What are you seeing emerging? What would you put at the top of your “new world” list?
You can share your thinking in the comments below or over at The Forty Hour Principal Facebook page.