The initial shock has now morphed into staying safe and watching the wreckage globally. And as I live in Melbourne, stories circulating about frontline workers now have new urgency through Stage 4 restrictions. Though far less mentioned, this includes the education frontline as leadership teams support staff, students, families and local communities.
Moreover, there is the rising urgency for schools to provide continuity of learning with calls on principals to manage both the immediate crisis while simultaneously keeping an eye what may happen next.
Observing schools during the crisis
I’ve observed, for instance, how they’ve dealt with our granddaughter’s special autistic needs. Small things have mattered such as
- The direct addresses which the principal makes via YouTube at the beginning of each week. For instance, in her first address on the 20th of July, she drew on the school’s vision and mission. How amazingly uplifting, I thought, for reinforcing the culture she wants to realise in the school during a pandemic!
- The obvious sense in which the work set for students weaves home environments into completing tasks, for instance, using resources that are at hand for the art class.
- Setting boundaries to differentiate ‘school work’ from what may be happening at home. For instance, for prompting parents that the up and coming group online activities should not include anyone but the child in the online environment as the presence of others will distract children from bonding and working together.
However, it’s hard not to take it for granted in the face of the everyday strength that school leaders and their staff have shown during the crisis. Now, as disruptions look as if they will continue for at least another 6 to 12 months, maybe it’s a good time to start acknowledging how school leaders are nurturing school communities through uncertain times.