be strong. be kind.
The drive to lift and shift the "business as usual" of public education into the home as a result of COVID-19 and potential lock-down situations is a completely broken and shameful response to the reality of these times
By any measure, these are extraordinary times.
Jacinda Ardern said "Be strong, be kind, we will be OK."
At no point did she say, "We need SSO credentials to deliver the NZ curriculum into every home, with an app and a Blockchain enabled website to support parents while teachers will need to redesign their pedagogy to deliver lessons via Zoom."
Society doesn't need every techbros hot-take on a zillion ways to STEMify your house using Pinterest as you prepare for quarantine conditions..
The future is bleak, troubling and scary right now. Don't pretend otherwise. Teachers and schools are about caring. We care by listening and by being present.
When your child's school goes into lockdown - the first email to their teachers should be "Are you OK? Take care of yourselves, take care of your family".
Don't make it, "What's the password for Mathletics?"
I'm going to play Catan with my girls, sit in the garden, watch Netflix, maybe make something out of cardboard, and walk the dog (did I mention we bought a dog yesterday), read books and yeah, they'll do some Mathletics, and write something on a Google doc.
We'll connect with friends and family, via Facetime and Whatsapp and we'll use the internet for all manner of nonsense and seriousness. But mostly we're going to look after each other as best we can - it's a motherloving pandemic.
Over the next 6 to 18 months, we as a global society are going to learn an awful lot of resilience and a whole new set of knowledge. We don't need to assess or report it on it. Let's not pretend that we can or should call it school.
The roles of people within schools remains what it has always been. To support, as best they can, their communities. But the sooner we stop trying to continue this mahi in the same way we've always done, just you know online and within the browser, the sooner we allow people space and time to imagine and create new possibilities.
We designed the New Zealand Curriculum with key competencies. We want students to be able to think, to relate to others, to use symbols, languages and texts, manage themselves and participate with others.
Everything that the COVID-19 has brought to our doorsteps over the last few months and into the future, can be seen through these competencies. How will society think about the science, ethics and choices made by our leaders? How will we relate to others during a time of massive economic upheaval? How will we use symbols, languages and texts to stay connected and check out how these are being used to harm and isolate others. How, in the face of potentially rolling lock-down conditions, do we manage ourselves, and yes, how will we imagine the new ways in which we participate with others?
I talked with Isabella this morning about imagining a world in which we have to design and think and deliver differently because of COVID constraints. What sports can we play together? How do we catch up with friends? How do we do our shopping? How do we travel?
These are gnarly, fascinating questions, and they're right here right now. In the midst of a time of great fear and societal upheaval for the adults in the world, the children are right here - watching, listening, following our lead.
As educators and as adults we talk about fostering resilience and about creating and being life long learners alongside our students.
Mostly it is, if I'm honest, pablum.
This time, right now, in the time of COVID-19 is the single greatest opportunity in our generation to walk that talk.
How will you be strong?
How will you be kind?
How will you lead with grace?
In your school.
In your organisation.
In your home.