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Creative Solutions: A Back to School Realization
Recently, we had teacher one-on-ones to help set expectations for the school year and address any questions. In addition to dropping off school supplies and learning where the new classrooms were, we walked away with an outline of how this year was going to be different. Not only did I appreciate learning about the “plan” but I was impressed on the creative solutions I saw coming to life through the syllabus and informational packet we were able to bring home.
Reflecting on the spring
The quick impact of the global pandemic on the spring semester, forced everyone to come up with distance learning plans in a hurry. Then, thanks to summer break, everyone was able to sit back and reflect on what happened.
I like to imagine my kids’ teachers sitting at their breakfast table with a mug of coffee thinking about how it could be better, easier for everyone — mainly because I sat with my coffee wondering the same thing for the majority of July.
What I learned this week is most educators did reflect on the spring and, without even knowing what the plan would be this fall, began to re-imagine what classroom and distance learning could look like. How they could even work together. The results, in my opinion, will benefit everyone.
Re-imagine the Possibilities
For the first time ever, our school is sending five- and six-year-olds home with an expensive piece of technology. In addition, my third-grader already has assignments in his Google classroom to read through before class starts. I feel ready. Even better, the teachers said they were ready and my kids are excited. Win-win-win!
All of these changes were made possible because some folks with the state, district and school realized that we can make decisions fast, we can do hard things, and there is a better way to do this. What if organizations did the same?
Consider these questions:
- How could you serve your customers better and faster?
- Could you make the customer experience better (knowing what you know now)?
- How can you improve your employee experience?
Getting Creative with Solutions
The data was clear: teachers, parents and kids wanted to be in a classroom environment without sacrificing health and safety in an attempt to “go back to normal.” So, the district surveyed again to find out what we all felt comfortable with and publicly shared the results. As it turned out, distance learning wasn’t “bad” but most respondents felt it could be better.
So, without knowing what the state of COVID-19 would be come September, the district decided to focus on the possibility of a hybrid or entirely distance learning model. Then, they began making changes, encouraging teachers and administrators to re-imagine what learning could look like for their students.
While only time will tell if these creative solutions worked or not, I find myself more confident and excited about the months to come. My kids are happy to be among friends again and the teachers seem reinvigorated from their break.
As you begin to plan for what’s next, take a cue from our educator friends and reflect on what’s happened. Then, use actual data to help re-imagine what it could be like moving forward.
For more on moving forward, read Heather Haas’s blog post, “Moving Forward: Expecting the Unexpected.”