It’s been six weeks since everything changed but as I sit here writing this, you could probably convince me that it was six months ago! We weren’t ready for this and very few of us could’ve ever seen something like this coming. And that’s how life goes…things happen that we never would expect, we have to face them, and we have to find a way to move forward. It’s that ability to move forward that separates us, it’s our ability to adapt.
I’ve been re-watching many of my favorite TED Talks lately and I came across this one last week, it struck a chord with me. I realized that what we’re all experiencing right now, as unprecedented as it is, isn’t really anything new. In her short but powerful TED Talk, Natalie Fratto tells briefly about a fateful meeting in the year 2000. I won’t ruin it for you, but the meeting was a defining decision point for one of the participants. The decision was rather simple, stick to the old ways and keep trying the same old things or look forward to a changing future and adapt to thrive in the evolving world.
These sort of decision points happen in our lives all the time. They happen to us as individuals, they happen to us as countries, they happen to us in all manner of ways. What we’re experiencing right now is one of those decision points, on a global scale. The interesting thing is that while we all face the same global challenge, we’re all going to experience it differently. We’re going to make different decisions than our neighbors, colleagues, and even family members. We’re all going to adapt in different ways. There is no map to follow, these are uncharted waters. It’s time to start asking some “what if…” questions:
What if school is required to continue online to begin next school year?
What if school starts but it’s not as “normal”?
What if school does start normally but we still don’t have a vaccine?
What if we flip a switch and everything goes back to “normal”? How will what we’ve experienced change things?
For many of us, these might not be questions we’re ready to face right now. That’s okay, you don’t have to answer them immediately. However, at some point, we’re all going to have to face some version of one of these “what if” questions (and many more unrelated to school). How we adapt and change for the benefit of our students is going to be a defining moment in their education. If you’re stressed out by these scenarios it could be that you’re focusing too much on the negative aspects of change…look at these as opportunities. What if you were able to rewrite the playbook? What if you could start fresh in a completely new environment? What if you could take all of the best practices you know now and apply them in a different context?