This week saw New Zealand move back into Level 1.
Any amazing accomplishment for our country and the team of 5 million. For me this has been achieved due to a number of factors, but primarily, good leadership and clear communication. But now the focus for our country moves from a crisis to a recovery. I would argue that strong leadership and clear communication are just as important now.
I think the same is true for education. We had weeks working with restricted conditions and new innovation. During this time teachers made huge gains in their knowledge and application of new skills. School leaders were probably active in their communication to staff and parents and hopefully provided deliberate leadership.
But this week saw the first week back at schools under Level 1.
For me what I have noticed in my class and wider school has a willingness to jump straight back into how we used to do things. Tuesday morning our school moved right back into an Assembly with 750 students. Our morning staff meetings are now back up and running. Same old…same old.
The tendency, and easy option, is to do the same in classrooms. I have felt this in my class this week. Students are reverting to what we used to do. I actually had a student ask to put our daily plan up on the whiteboard – something I have got rid of following lockdown.
I have also noticed students not logging onto Teams to check their learning – relying on other students to do it for them.
I would argue that now is the time for strong educational leadership to challenge staff (on a school level) and students (on a class level) to keep the good learning we learnt from lockdown. School leaders should be actively encouraging and ensure skills learnt during lockdown are continued. Teachers need to be doing the same with their students.
There is a saying that it takes 30 days to make a habit. Schools and classrooms are still in that 30 day window so it is up to us to continue to remind students of the WHY and encourage them to develop their own learning. As teachers and leaders it is our job to keep ensuring we keep the momentum going and avoid drifting back into the old normal.