To wear a mask or not… that is the question…Hamlet’s questioning skills are spot on!
As our schools navigate opening in a few weeks, the question remains for many students, parents, teachers, and administrators… will masks be mandated or will the school community opt to wear masks (even those who are vaccinated) to help curb this uptick in the Delta variant? Will the school community take a stand and encourage all to wear masks so that we walk the talk about providing safe havens for our students, families, and communities? Will students and teachers be ostracized or worse, bullied, for wearing masks and keeping the health and welfare of the school community front and center?
As if schools haven’t faced enough discrimination and racial disparity…
Sure, we all want schools to reopen. But, we must insure that schools are opening safely AND proactively plan for the event that they might be forced to delay in-person learning for a bit. Do I think that’s a possibility? Absolutely! Have I been saying all along to learn from the last two school years and develop action plans that have a Plan A, B, and C? You bet!
Wearing masks has become such a polarizing political crisis that it’s hard to believe some still doubt the science behind the practice. For everyone, but especially the school community, how can this even be an issue? Haven’t our voices been heard about how the pandemic has affected the social-emotional learning for everyone? Don’t we want to provide every opportunity for our students and families to re-connect with each other and get back to school business? I know schools will look different going forward and that’s the silver lining of the pandemic… students and their teachers have learned a tremendous amount about agency, technology, flexibility, instructional delivery, and a new culture of learning to name a few. Let’s capitalize on the new learning and move forward.
So, what does this mean for instructional coaching? Well, instructional coaching may look different in different buildings. Our coaches may continue to work with teachers but also have their own classrooms to manage since there is a teacher shortage in some areas. Here’s the thing… continue to support teachers with ongoing conversations and resources, provide opportunities for collaboration, open your classroom as a demonstration site, and above all, be safe and don’t wait for a mandate… plan for progress and promote the culture and climate that is respectful, accepting, and concerned… take care of each other and begin the school year with a growth mindset and continued desire to make a difference in our students’ lives.
What are your first instructional coaching steps as you re-ignite the teachers with whom you work?