I had plans. We all had plans. I was going to chronicle what it was like to go remote, the good, the bad, and the ugly. In reality, I barely came up for air, let alone process what was happening and write about it. We handed out thousands of devices, document cameras, hot spots. We supported parents, grandparents, neighbors and students how to do all things tech. How to connect to the internet, set permissions, use new tools; all at a distance and often in pantomime as lack of audio and a language barrier came in to play. We also supported teachers who had to abandon, colorful, resource filled classrooms for a corner of the kitchen table and a computer screen. Not only did they need to learn new tools but needed to learn new ways to engage and instruct students, while having to supervise their own children at home doing school remotely. Meanwhile, in our daily lives, we visited store after store to gather what we needed to feed our families, and run our households. We experience separation and isolation, lost loved ones, missed milestones and saw traditions fall away.
2020-2021 was not much of an improvement, it really was just a different set of problems and ways of teaching. Face forward, be silent, no play, no socialization, and in some classes teach 1/2 the class in front of you and the other 1/2 remotely at the SAME TIME! Talk about learning a whole new way of doing things. Everyone needed to be hyper-aware of where they were and what they were doing.
2021-2022 was not quite the return to normal I had hoped for. We were all exhausted, worn out, and frankly still struggling since the rug of familiarity was pulled out from us in March of 2019. We human beings tend to like patterns, relationships, continuity, and old habits. But every month brought new changes to everything for two years, that is a lot of cognitive load in life, school, and work. The brain can only process so much.
What will 2022-2023 hold, I am not sure? Do we sweep away the debris of the last two years to find the foundation of what was before or do we build on the new foundation recently laid down though it is a little chaotic? Personally, I want to get back to people and learning, not devices and dashboards. I want to think deeply again about what it means to learn, be a learner, and how to maximize the potential, bring out the talents of the wonderful individuals I encounter everyday. I want to get past the stuff and focus on the people. Getting back to remembering learning happens within the learner. It’s not about the toys and tools but about making meaning and creating.
Here is wishing you all a relaxing, rewarding summer as we get ready to continue the wild ride that will be the 2022-23 school year!