I am encouraged to look for the silver lining. Last Spring, when schools closed their doors for the 2019-2020 school year, in most cases without proper goodbyes, a silver lining was hard to find.
As schools prepare to open for the 2020-2021 school year safely, I can sense the opportunity that awaits. Perhaps it’s just me trying to cultivate a “growth mindset,” but I choose to find the silver lining this season.
One silver lining is the excellent opportunity schools have to redefine the word “teamwork.” This year, teachers will need to support one another emotionally and instructionally. Practicing proper teamwork means we create a nurturing environment for our students during a time of chaos. Improper teamwork sets teachers and students up for failure. A culture must be created that emphasizes an “All In For Kids” mentality. Together, we are better!
Schools across the nation are providing students and families with a choice: would you prefer a traditional or virtual learning experience? Teachers familiar with in-house teaching and conversations are now asked to modify instruction and collaboration to fit an online format. As education changes, the nature of our discussions must change as well. Pulling from the Flippin Group’s EXCEL at Meetings Model flippengroup.com/emails/EXCEL.pdf and DuFour, DuFour, Eaker, and Many’s Four Essential Questions of a PLC (from Learning by Doing: A Handbook for Professional Learning Communities at Work, 2010, Solution Tree Press), a Distance Learning PLC Conversation Template was developed to help teachers navigate through topics in an online learning experience.
DuFour, R., DuFour, R., Eaker, R., & Many, T. (2010). Learning by doing: A handbook for professional learning communities at work. Bloomington, IN: Solution Tree Press.
Anthony S. Golding is assistant principal at Milam Elementary School, Tupelo, Mississippi.