What should stay and what should go post pandemic?

I write this piece in June. For many educators, school is already out.

Classrooms are left an empty shell with walls that are bare, awaiting the following year’s new and shiny displays.

For others, the year is starting to wind down as the pace from an atypical year slows to a trot to a walk to an eventual standstill.

Such times should give space for reflection. You may have to fight for such space, but the scrap is well worth the return on investment.

I myself have been thinking about an important question;
What practices should we keep and what should we discard in a post-pandemic system?

With schools all over the world having had to innovate; with new systems, practices and policies developed it’d be wise to consider which things should remain and what should be scrapped.

Post Traumatic Growth
Undoubtedly, many involved in education during COVID have experienced trauma: teachers, students, and their parents.

Without demeaning this experience, however, there’s a strength and a resistance on the other end of such challenging circumstances. Nasim Nikolas Taleb calls this post-traumatic growth.

A better tomorrow…

I can say with absolute certainty that teachers, parents and students desire schools that are conducive to student learning, development and holistic flourishing.

I think there are some things we’d do well to keep post-pandemic.

At this juncture, it’d be a good idea to consider which of our covid induced innovations we should keep. This goes for policy and practices. In order to facilitate halcyon dreams of a beautifully functioning system.

Where From Here?
When we return from school in the autumn I think school leaders would do well to spend some of the back to school training sessions getting staff to think about what should remain. The following questions, which end this piece could serve as a useful starting point to this end:

  • What did we actually change about school practices as a result of covid
  • What is our education vision and mission, and can any of these new practices help us to realise our vision?
  • Which stakeholders do we need to hear from to determine the practices we should keep?
  • How can we build back for the future and build back better?

For the curious types who wish to know what practices I am going to keep, here are a few:

  • Being more available to staff. All of the SLT kept a weekly slot where we were open to questions and queries. The frequency will reduce but the practice will remain.
  • Higher expectations for ALL students. I was incredibly impressed with the way students managed themselves and practised self-leadership during a crisis. It demonstrated that they are capable of far more than we often give them credit for!
  • Formalised systems of wellbeing check-ins for pupils on a regular basis.