Every year around this time I write about my belief that it is the perfect time of year to try some new strategies, tools, or classroom arrangements. You can test them for a short while and see what you want to use for the start of next school year. Spring is a wonderful testing ground for new ideas because you know your students, your systems are up and running, and taking a risk is a little easier. While I’d still encourage you to try some new things, I realize that this year is unlike any other in that you probably (hopefully!) won’t be put in the same context again in the future.
That being said, Spring is still a great time to reflect on what has worked and what hasn’t. This year, it’s a great chance to think about what you can take from this crazy time and how you can apply it in the future. While things have been very challenging and have forced us to operate in a completely different way than we’re used to, this year has also forced us to learn new skills and think outside the box for a lot of what we do with kids. So, instead of trying more new things this Spring, I’d like to encourage you to think about what new things you’ve done this year that you could continue using in the future (either in their current form or in an altered form).
I recently read an article from The Chronicle of Higher Education that shares some of the “pandemic-driven innovations” that educators plan to continue using in the future. It’s an interesting read and shares details and stories about how teachers and professors plan to use some of the tools they’ve been forced to adopt in the pandemic once we return to our new normal. Despite being an article geared toward higher education, some of the ideas will certainly translate well to our context. Ideas like, taking time to make connections, offering online tutoring or student support services, online guest speakers, and flexibility with due dates and grading, are all things discussed in detail in this article.
When you think about the “pandemic-driven innovations” that you’ve been forced to use/develop over the last year, what sticks out as something you’d like to continue using in the future? I’d love to hear your thoughts about this and will ask specifically for your feedback in the future. Please take some time to not only think about this but begin (continue) having this conversation with your team.