I have a friend that just recently got her first job in school administration. This year she became a high school vice-principal. We laughed about how this is not the ideal year to begin an administration journey because it’s…well this year. I do not envy the tasks that school leaders have with a global pandemic looming overhead in the fall of 2020. I feel there will be voices of discontent on both sides.
School leaders will be faulted if they open schools on time, faulted if they wait a couple of weeks to open schools, faulted if they let students back in the building, faulted if they start the school year with online distance learning, faulted, faulted, faulted.
What is the right decision?
I work in higher education, and my school has three models; face-to-face classes, online classes, or a combination referred to as hybrid. I prefer the hybrid model because I can see my student a few times during the semester. Whatever your preference, and we all have an opinion on schools opening up, and if it’s safe, we as teachers and parents must present it to the students as “It’s going to be a great school year!”
I have been involved in the planning meetings to reopen the school, and I know more meetings did not include the faculty. I have been asked my opinion on some matters, but other times regulations were handed down to me, and I just had to implement them. Even if I do not like the decision, I know that my fellow teachers and leaders do have the students’ best interests at heart.
Whatever side you fought for behind closed doors, when the decision is made, trust the decision. As teachers and parents, we need to leave our feelings to the side and put on a smile for our students. We have built amazing communities for our students, and we will do it again, in whatever form it may take this year. We do not need to project our heartbreak and dismay to our students.
Our students can pick up on our anxiety and unhappiness. We do not need to burden the students with recapping conversations and our opinion on the outcome. We need to present a united front. That united front is that we are excited to have them in our class now or in a month, in the classroom or in an online classroom, with a mask on or without a mask. We are happy that you are here, and It’s going to be a great school year!
I teach future art teachers at Emporia State University. Here is what is going on in my classes.