Updated: Jan 9, 2021
Joe Schwartz - 1/1/2021
If 2020 did anything positive as far as education goes, it showed that we are woefully unprepared for the future of education. We thought we were oh so smart with our interactive whiteboards and flipped classrooms, our laptops for every child and internet superhighway promises.
But when push came to shove, the infrastructure that was needed just was not there. Instead, with less than two weeks notice the teachers scrambled and moved their classes online with little prep, support or organization from administrators, who were also caught off guard and were left justifying their six-figure salaries and advanced degrees. It was the teachers who answered the call, just as they always do - and the admins were left in the dust, proving that once again that an advanced degree does not mean advanced leadership skills.
So where do we go from here? The 2020-2021 school year is a wash, with teachers and students mutually frustrated with each other, parents angry that there was no system set up by those who should have been prepping for the day we had to go fully online, and a leadership vacuum at the top - from the feds down to local boards of education. It doesn't look pretty.
Come September of 2021, it is expected that there will be enough people who have received the new vaccines that we can start to move back to in-person learning with some resemblance of fall of 2019. But these students will have been out of a classroom for 18 months and they will not be prepared for the stresses that this return will incur - especially the little ones, whose social skills have been stymied by quarantines. No matter the family makeup, every kid will be an only child - not willing to share possessions or attention, frustrated by a lack of structure and schedule, and taken aback when they realize it is expected of them to complete all of their work, on time and without argument.
New tools will be needed - to provide structure for the teachers and students as they navigate new waters, and new mindsets will need to be implemented by all to avoid the unavoidable bumps and curves that we are all going to face together.
NEXT: Where does Design Thinking fit in the New World Order of education coming this fall?