Inhale, Exhale

 Many educators have started the school year, and many more will begin in the coming days.  As we navigate the virtual halls of our new normal, we have so many things to consider.  In the 22 weeks since we have seen our students, they have gone through so much.  This includes the pandemic, the social unrest throughout the country, the political warfare and lastly, isolation.  There are so many ways to approach the various topics discussed above, but we must be what we want to see in our students.  What we exhale is what they will inhale.  As we begin to discuss how to move forward as a community, work diligently to include your students in that conversation.  Processes and procedures are important, but it is equally important to address our student's questions, calm their fears and pour positivity back into their spirits.  We are not saying “hello” to our students as we have in years past.  Their eyes will have so many more stories to tell and it’s important to read your “virtual” room and understand that compassion is going to get us farther than our lesson plans ever will.  Be observant, be patient, but most of all be kind.  Our kids will need very bit of our positivity! 

What are your Expectations?

I usually blog on nuggets of wisdom that I encounter during the week or month.  Today’s topic seems to be right on target with what is happening in and around us during this time.  My Sunday sermon referenced expecting things of God, but I would like to discuss what we expect of ourselves during this very uncertain time.

Teachers have been the topic of so much conversation over the last few months.  As boards and governing bodies discuss the opening of schools across the country, the expectation is that student learning will be negatively impacted by distance learning. 

The Rosenthal-Jacobson Study argues that:  High expectations lead to improved performance.  I have never heard the scientific term for what we in education have normalized as “high expectations lead to greater outcomes and low expectations lead to lower outcomes”.  This term is a mainstay in an educator’s toolbox.  For these reasons, we are drawn to the idea that we must expect so much more from our students so they can produce amazing results.  However, what expectations do we have for ourselves?

Many districts are battling with having educators come into the building to teach instead of working from home.  This method is lauded as the most effective way to increase productivity.  The expectation is that educators can/will be more productive within the walls of the school. However, following the guise of the R-J Study, shouldn’t the expectations be that wherever we are, we will rise to the challenge of educating our children with the same level of excellence? 

Years from now, we will dissect these moments and hopefully, they will be some of the most innovative of our careers. However, while we are in the midst of this challenging landscape called education, I encourage you to expect excellent outcomes daily.  When we expect them from ourselves, we will surely receive them from our students.  Enjoy this school year and make it one for the history books, as it surely will be.