School in 2020: Return to the Unpredictable

Anxiety. Uncertainty. Insecurity. The world we are living in looks very different from the world we were experiencing just six months ago. The lack of structure creates extreme vulnerability, fear, and anxiety. High School students are facing a fall without sports, lunchrooms without lunch, hallways without friends, libraries without tables, a social life with no social gathering. 

Bizarre. Unimaginable. Unknown.

It is bizarre and unimaginable, and it all may change tomorrow. We are asking our kids to be flexible and comfortable with the unknown. Everyone is doing the best they can, but the anxiety is there. You can feel it. The mantra that keeps me sane is this statement by Dorothy Neddermeyer, “Life is ten percent what you experience and ninety percent how you respond to it.” How are you responding to the pandemic? How are you preparing your kids for the beginning of school?

Opportunity. Progress. Evaluation.

In terms of K – 12 education, we have been forced to take a look at our schools and their response to COVID. How many years have we heard educators requesting smaller class sizes? Administrators asking for money for improved technology? Parents asking for diversified curriculum and more control over their student’s education? The pandemic has presented the opportunity, albeit forced, to evaluate the way things have been done since the industrial age.

Integrity. Reform. Rigor.

Never before have schools been as open and accommodating to the opinion of parents, the needs of the students, and options in education. Online school was once frowned upon, usually mentioned in the same sentence as “diploma mill” and “easy A”. Now, it is a lifeline for our children. What was once chastised is now valued. As a society, we have a great opportunity to affect change in our education system. With the acceptance of online school, we have the ability to personalize the education for our children. Nothing diminishes anxiety faster than action. This is a time for change: change in the way we present education and change in the way we think about school. In the midst of uncertainty, lies opportunity.