So many teachers are expressing frustration with their limitations in this interlude of distance learning. Possibly the most important thing principals can do for their teachers and students is to stress the fact that this is not business as usual. When it is not business as usual, we cannot have the usual expectations for our students and teachers.
Expect them to strive to tackle less, but to do it better. Sometimes less truly is best.
Essentially, this pandemic experience has placed us in “time-out” mode. In sports, which sometimes does provide lessons for academic instruction, a “time out” is when we strive to fix what is not working; remind our players to focus on doing their jobs: or, maybe draw up a new play. What is unique about “time outs” is that the clock is stopped, and in this instance, think of it as an extended time out.
Teachers: consider how many occasions there were when you and/or your students were unable to learn or accomplish something because of insufficient time. Figuratively speaking, we now find ourselves in a situation where we have a virtually unlimited, if unknown, amount of time.
Maybe educators should view this unique time as an opportunity to do somethings differently or, better yet, do something over.
We are far enough into the semester that most students have had lessons with which they struggled. Why not give your students an opportunity to have a “do-over” with a lesson on which they struggled or where they never really got the point of the lesson or acquire a skill that was being taught.
Possibly teachers could go back to their gradebooks and identify a few of the lessons on which individual students received their lowest grades. Or, give them this opportunity to go back and review the lessons with which they would have loved to have had more time. Give them an opportunity to convert a grade of C, D, or F to an A or B grade.
Challenge them to go back and review the lesson, re-do the practice assignments, make certain they are given enough time to discuss the mistakes they make or the things they do not understand, and then re-take a quiz or test. Let them then earn the credits, grades, or points they would have liked to have earned the first time around.
Then, when their work is done and you are satisfied that they made the kind of effort you were hoping for, make it a big deal—a celebration event—to go back and change that C or D grade to an A or B.
If there is still time, let them select another lesson.
For students who did well on all their lessons, let them pick one on which they would have liked to have had more time. Let them dig deeper and report back on what they learned or discovered,
There must be worse ways to use the time we have been given by this extraordinary event.