It's Wednesday, July 7th. Usually, I am traveling or getting back from a trip with my family. We are typically about to enter into a few weeks of camp and tutoring work. I can regularly visit my friends and hug my parents and in-laws. Instead, here I am in my NYC apartment reading emails from private schools, Twitter, and delving into the latest NY Times article which tells me that the children in my life will be dealing with very different and challenging schooling experiences come the fall of 2020.
We'll be in person. We'll be home. We'll be wearing face masks and staying away from one another. We'll be on computers for hours at a time. Parents need to consider child care. Some kids will be able to learn well, others will not.
I feel for all of us. My first thought is - I want to scoop down and take this all away from everyone I know. Did we know how lucky we were last year? I don't think so.
In my work as a tutor and educator and consultant, I evolve people. I empower them with information and support. At Evolved, we boost our student's under-developed skills by using their strengths. When we apply what is easy for us or what we have been trained to do within what we find difficult, we discover how we can uniquely cope and overcome hard tasks.
In many ways, the process of work we conduct here at Evolved is exactly what is possible for each of us as we endeavor an unprecedented school year - one which will surely be affected by our unique strengths and hindered by our unique challenges and hardships.
What I hope for everyone involved is to empower them with a playbook for how to make the most of what we have been given.
Take a moment to notice the unique strengths and challenges your child(ren) and your family as well as your school(s) have as you enter this coming school year.
Write down what you know will be great. State what will be okay. Name what will be challenging.
Think outside of the box here a little -
Maybe what is great is that you have resources you could provide someone to help them to learn well. Maybe you have the flexibility to be home with a friend or two in the neighborhood and supervise their online learning. Perhaps you can offer your teacher support by chipping in and sending her notes of encouragement during a very challenging time.
Maybe you will find the change of the schedule difficult. Your child may not learn well online. You may be worried about your child's safety at school.
Record all of your thoughts. Be okay with changing your mind.
Look at your strengths. Can they serve within your areas of challenge?
If you have the ability to work from home two days a week, maybe you can work out a schedule with your child to work early in the morning, for a few hours in the afternoon and late at night, giving your child some supervision and attention. If you have extra resources, then you might be able to hire a tutor or a caregiver to support your child in areas of challenge and share that resource with another student in need.
Perhaps your work training allows you to support your child to set up their technology better for this round of distance learning. Your child may also have ideas on how to improve that experience.
Be an example for your child as to how someone copes well with times of great change and hardship.
I often use this approach when I am going through a tough time. I think toward the future and I ask myself how I will view my experience and effort during this time. Will I be impressed with my bravery, vision, innovation, and time on task? Will I feel regret because of how I chose to handle myself?
I often find that I can do more than I think I can in the toughest of times when I think about how fast life moves and how much control I have over my own actions.
My company, my students, my clients, and my family deserve to have as much of my strengths and presence during this time. I intend to put my best effort forward. It won't be perfect - that's okay. But, I will leave nothing left on the table.
Parents, the leaders of each family, are tasked to look forward and to recognize their power in how they handle the challenge of this coming school year. If we chose to focus on the hardship and what is not working, we will miss out on the opportunity we have to discover possibilities, innovations, and ways for our students to learn well.
Every time I get on my Instagram feed, I am delighted when I come across Jessica Yellin or Dr. Becky at Home. It is a great time to gain the support of some of the most innovative experts - willing and able to support us, parents, through a pretty hard time.
We don't have to bolster the challenges we have on our own. We can reach out to those in the world who have taken steps to be available to us - to offer us support.
What I think is possible for us all is something like this:
- Our children learn to learn well in school while wearing masks and staying apart as well as online.
- Our teachers develop their abilities to manage different modes of instruction - both in-person and online.
- Our parents discover their own strengths and allow them to bolster up their underdeveloped skills during an unprecedented time.
- Our administrators plan and create possibilities where there were none prior.
I still feel for us all because of course what we used to have seems so easy and we know how to do that. But, what is to come will teach us so much more. Let's take this opportunity to see this as the opportunity to evolve.
To learn more about Evolved Education and our tutoring, consulting and school placement services for students from pre-nursery through college, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.