I think we were all hopeful that the 2020-21 school year would begin like previous years with the COVID-19 virus behind us. Well, our hopes have been thwarted. You can certainly give yourself permission to experience some disappointment and even a bit of anger and sadness. Yet the fact is, we, as parents and educators, need to move on and lead and mentor our children through this major adjustment in their educational lives.
I think it is very important to acknowledge the hard work and forethought of each of the independent school districts in our state. Each district has assembled thoughtful and wise plans based on months of research, task force engagement, and expert opinions from a variety of stakeholders. It is the best thinking to date and yet we know things could change. No model will make everyone happy as opinions will vary greatly. Notwithstanding, how we personally manage the weeks ahead lies directly in the lap of every parent and guardian who has a child that is going to spend the beginning weeks of school, AT HOME.
So, how do we set the tone and environment for a positive start of school in our homes?
First and foremost, each parent and caregiver needs to have a positive mindset about what lies ahead. An optimistic attitude and a positive mindset affect just about everything we do, and our children will learn from each of us how to address adverse circumstances in spite of what we would prefer to do.
It is critical to have a “can do” attitude and “do whatever it takes” approach to our schooling efforts in the weeks ahead. Do not step back into the hole of anxiety and concern, but step forward into your leadership role as a teacher and mentor in your home. Harvey Firestone noted, “The growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.” Right now, our “calling” is the education of our children so that they will continue on the path to being caring and productive citizens.
Second, set up a physical environment that is stable and free of distractions. Consider a permanent place for your schooling so that projects and work in progress do not have to be moved or rearranged. Your child is used to having a desk or locker where they keep their school items and classwork. Disrupting their organizational flow may add frustration and wasted time if it all has to be reassembled each day. I understand that your child might be a “hot mess” in this area, but if it works for them, do not discount it. If they need help and are willing to receive it, then offer your guidance.
Last March was a very difficult time for our schools as they had to shut down, abruptly, and reorganize around virtual learning. Realize that your child’s teacher(s) and school district are better prepared than before to address the challenges of remote learning and you need to be willing to ask for help and guidance when needed. I can guarantee you, teachers are missing their students very much, and they want each student to have an exceptional educational experience despite the separation from the in-person, classroom experience. Both you and your child should call, write, and communicate with your child’s teacher as often as necessary.
With great resolve we will be successful! Best to you all, Mike Munier
PS: I leave you with this quote:
“I yearn not for the easy path, but for the right path. For ‘easy’ and ‘right’ are rarely compatible.”
― Craig D. Lounsbrough
Unsure about your child’s role in all of this? I have 35 years of leadership experience in private and charter schools and can help your family find the right environment for your child. Please visit www.firateducation.com/mikemunier to get started!