The New School

Well it’s that time of year when students are headed back to school! But for the first time ever, everybody is headed to something new!

Even if your child has attended the same school for several years, this year will be like no other. Almost everything will be different. The crowded hallways and busy chatter, the smiling teachers and bustling playground… all will be gone if the Covid-19 guidelines are followed. Along with field trips, sports, clubs and cafeterias. The numbers tell us 30% of Albertans have opted for online learning this year. That’s new too! How do we help our kids look forward to a new year when so much will be unfamiliar?

Well, to start, those smiling teachers will still be there! You may not see the smile under the mask but there will be smiles none the less! Those online learners will get to see the smiles. For many teachers this year has required more from them than any other in quite some time! In fact many feel like this is their first year of teaching all over again! Classrooms had to be restructured, supplies and classroom decor rethought in light of the guidelines. Curriculum examined and teaching strategies adjusted to fit a four quarter system and student cohorts. The looming possibility of going back to learning at home abruptly if Covid-19 rears it’s ugly head in school has changed how everyone looks at school.

As our kids have begun to stress about how awful things might be under these circumstances we have had to remind them of a few things!

  • There has been more creative thought and energy put into this school year by more people than ever in their school history
  • Learning will still be happening in many ways
  • Friends will still be there, needing to engage with each other the same as always
  • Teachers want you to enjoy school while you learn
  • Being sick won’t end your school year and ruin everything (colds happen)
  • Things will only seem strange for the first couple of weeks and then it will seem familiar again
  • It could be the best year ever

So as our kids head to school there is still reason for anticipation of the year ahead. It will be a great year… if we choose to look for the positives and embrace the change.

To the teachers who are headed into this year with their own set of worries…

We believe you can do this! You are much appreciated and I hope you are able to embrace your role as an educator and not feel you have to be a medical expert and rule enforcer all the time. You are not responsible for preventing the spread of Covid-19. You are only asked to follow the guidelines health officials have set and then teach!

I hope you find inspiration in the midst of all the changes and enjoy the year ahead.

When faced with challenges we all choose whether to rise to the occasion or crumble and quit. Choose wisely. Be careful what information you consume as it plays a big part in shaping your view of the circumstances. Surround yourself with those who are willing to do the work to thrive.

This is how I will choose to speak to my kids and speak of the schools and teachers that will be a part of our lives for the next 10 months! The ability to choose a positive outlook is a life skill we all need to continue developing.

There is a time to look realistically at the challenges. There is also a time to quit whining, make the best of things. We are all more than capable of having a great year. Masks and all!

In the midst of the mess


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