From NPR last week:
Right now students are out of school in 185 countries. According to UNESCO, that’s roughly 9 out of 10 school children worldwide.
The world has never seen a school shutdown on this scale.
Let’s be clear. While the building is closed, Trinity School is open, caring for and teaching students. The school is not shut down. The building is closed; the school is open, and we are learning.
In this unprecedented time in our learning, schooling, and teaching history, we thoughtfully consider and ask:
How do we act and react when our learners take a stumble in their learning? How are we teaching persistence? How do we help learners learn to stay the course? How do we teach pressing on in spite of difficulty or a stumble?
“I stumbled. I was out on a run early one Sunday morning. I have been practicing and “doing my homework.” Theoretically, I am training for a 10K. Realistically, I’m just working on endurance and overcoming “I can’t” thinking. At approximately 3 miles out, I stumbled. In the slow motion moment, I thought “Oh, good; I’m gonna catch myself.” In actual time, wham! Here’s a quick peek at the results of my stumble.”
“OUCH! But, I was very lucky. I did not break my nose, teeth, wrists, or anything else. I did skin and bruise my nose, the left side of my face, my right palm, and my left knee. I did have to call for help to get home. Three weeks later, there is only a little road-rash under my left eye. The cleanup and healing took time, work, encouragement, and extra care.
“I took action to care for my injuries in the form of lots of salve and ibuprofen. Others took action in many ways to help.
I’ve got a warm washcloth, Bandaids, and Neosporin. How can I help you?
It really doesn’t look that bad. You hardly notice it.
<teasing> Maybe you should consider different shoes. You know, flat shoes rather than the ridiculous ones that you usually wear.
Just give it time; be patient. I had a similar incident, and with time and care, you will be fine – back to normal. It will get better. I suggest vitamin E so that you won’t scar.
<again, teasing> Well, that’s what you get for running.
“Notice that no one said ‘well, you just weren’t prepared.’ No one said ‘maybe you should try harder next time.’ No one said ‘you just weren’t ready'” No one said ‘it’s okay, this is not in your strength or skill set.’
“When a learner fails to meet their own expectations – when they stumble – consider actions and reactions. They speak louder than words.
With time, action, and care, we can fix this.
What can I do to help you?
It is really not that bad. There are bright spots in your work and learning. Let’s work together to brighten the areas of concern.
In Mindset, Dr. Carol Dweck writes
“When people believe their basic qualities can be developed, failures may still hurt, but failures don’t define them. And if abilities can be expanded – if change and growth are possible – then there are still many paths to success.” (p. 39)
“My path – on the way to a 10K – took a detour. I had to backtrack a little to reach the result I want.
In this unprecedented time, we wonder what salve and ibuprofen to offer. We know you feel bruised and banged up, and we ask: How might we care and comfort one another while expanding abilities and putting learners on some of the many paths to success? We know the current change of venue is expanding our skillsets. It feels tender, raw, and uncomfortable, yet, we are learning about our students’ learning in new and different ways. Remember, school is not closed, the building is.
School is open and learning is happening.
We are in it for the long haul, ready and able to clean up, heal, take time, work together, spread encouragement, and extend extra care.
Dweck, Carol S. Mindset: the New Psychology of Success. New York: Random House, 2006. 39. Print.