This year has been like no other.
I firmly believe that in 50 years, students will be analyzing and researching 2020—and quite possibly, 2021 and 2022 as well. By then, it is my hope that history books will have also changed, or at least the content presented to students around the world accurately provides all sides of the narrative and not just the white, dominant perspective.
December marks the “end” of a traditional calendar year, when holidays collide with reflections and resolutions. And while we transition from one year into the next, there are many “ends” that took place throughout 2020 that deserve our reflection.
Remote learning has revealed more than we bargained for, with teachers around the world rising to the occasion and continuing to provide instruction to students virtually, while also being a parent, a caretaker—and every other slash you could think of. Parents of school-age children rearranged their lives and homes, created “classrooms” from kitchen tables and nooks, or transformed bedrooms to be “havens” of learning. Leaders soothed the anxiety of their staff, eloquently hiding their own, while guiding staff and families through the unknown in ways they could have never read about in books or in articles.
In other homes, in less ideal circumstances, multiple students use one computer to learn from different teachers, while others struggled to log onto class as a result of connectivity issues. Those who could, called into class from cell phones, while others made a decision to not log on at all and try again another day.
Remote learning, or even hybrid learning, revealed the many injustices that exist in education—from the lack of knowing how to provide diverse learners with the support they need from home to identifying ways that parents can be supportive to their students. Yet as we enter into another calendar year, reflecting on the many myths, misconceptions, delusions and errors that were revealed this year in education around the country, one thing that this time of year also marks is hope.
With the new calendar year, comes new resolutions—the hope of the tomorrow. Resolutions come out of the reflection of the old—a commitment to doing better in the days and months to come.
- To identify the gaps and fallacies that exist in education, to not only illuminate the “wrongs,” but to present solutions that are within my locus of control.
- To be a leader who acknowledges the real “fear” from teachers in returning to school in the middle of a pandemic—and not hide my own under the title of my work.
- To lead with my heart, continue to put a name to the students I serve and serve them in excellence without sympathy for their circumstances, but in strength for their tenacity.
- To believe in the opportunities that arise from chaos and crisis—in order to join with other leaders in education to elevate our voice, extend our reach and BE the change we seek.
- To walk in the unrelenting hope of the students of our future—my own daughter included—and work ferociously for our future. Providing our students with the ammunition of truth, fueled by the spirit of equity and justice.
- And lastly, I resolve to never stop using what I was given to inspire change.
No, these aren’t ideal circumstances for our students in today’s classrooms. No, our students aren’t getting the high-quality education they deserve. No, it’s not the parents’ fault.
Yet I choose to live in hope coupled with action. The hope that comes out of knowing and doing, with the faith in those who share my values. Because faith without works is dead. And the “work” results from the hope that things will change.
Join me in the change to make 2021 (and beyond) what we have been working for!