At long last....
Book update, schooling during a pandemic, Ted Lasso, and more
This is @edpsychprof's newsletter for those interested in transforming schools to become places where children (and adults) can thrive.
It’s been a hot minute since my last newsletter in the spring. Turns out, writing a book takes a lot of time and cognitive real estate. I’ve been writing for 6 days a week for months and months. Now that the book is in the editing stage, I am eager to take up my pen again and chat with my community of folks interested in school transformation.
First, I promised you a sneak peak of the book. The title is “Millennials’ Guide to K-12 Education: What No One Ever Told You About How to Help Your Child THRIVE in School.” My publisher specializes in books for Millennials, and young parents certainly can use a helpful guide when making educational decisions for their kiddos. The book’s content, though, is applicable for all parents of kids in grades K-12, as well as teachers or anyone involved in K-12 education.
In the weeks leading to the book launch (hopefully October), I will share a few early drafts of some of the chapters. To start, I thought I would share of a glimpse of Part 2’s Table of Contents because it deals with a pressing current issue—the pivot—or what to do when our kids’ learning environment changes.
This section feels timely because school is back in session, and for many of us, that means sending out kids back to brick and mortar classrooms, with or without masks, in a time of great uncertainty, stress, and fear. The transition back to a classroom environment after weeks of virtual learning can be difficult for students. Plus, with the mandatory quarantines due to COVID tracing, students and teachers exposed to the virus are being sent home. It’s impossible to get into a routine at work or school. As someone who works closely with local schools, this pandemic is causing a lot of stress on students, families, teachers and school leaders. So what can we do about it?
In Chapter 10, I talk about how to help students deal with change, how to give kids small choices so they don’t feel powerless when faced with scary or difficult situations, and what markers to look for (like low grades) to see well kids are adjusting to the change. Students’ test scores are declining dramatically across the country (https://www.cnn.com/2021/08/25/us/school-test-scores-covid-pandemic/index.html). Learning loss is real. For me, I am personally following the guidelines of the serenity prayer—changing the things I can and trying to find peace over what cannot be changed. As the fictional but oh so wise Ted Lasso recently noted: There are two buttons I never like to hit, that is panic and snooze. Good advice for all us.
For those of us who are parents, we can do some things at home that don’t cost much extra effort but which can help our kids from drifting too far afield. I am much more lenient with my kids’ computer time during the pandemic, yet I am making sure to keep good reading material at home for my son to read and to insist that some time is spent reading each day. I’m grateful for our local public library that delivers books on our doorstep and offers free eBooks and audiobooks as well. I’m engaging in more conversations with my son about the world and taking a daily walk with him to catch up on what’s going on in school. We do puzzles together too—Sudoku, Boggle, and jigsaw puzzles are our favorites. For younger elementary kids who struggle with arithmetic, you can make a game out of testing each other’s math facts. Kids like to quiz us and show they are smarter than us (my son knows more math now than I do I think). Even a game of Tic Tac Toe during dinner is worthwhile, especially if it means we turn of the TV or our devices during a meal once in a while.
My big hope is that the pandemic ends soon. But while it rages, we can try to stay afloat, taking one day at a time. For those of you working in schools, may you be safe and well. For those of you taking care of kids, may you be safe and well. For all my readers, may you be safe and well. And may we all do what we can to take care of students and teachers who are on the front lines of some difficult times right now.
Let’s not end on too somber a note. I want to share a few of my favorite things that are helping me cope with all the stress and chaos of life during a quickly changing pandemic.
The Ted Lasso TV show. Here’s an appetizer:
And taking short walks before and after work.
What is helping you, dear readers? Post a comment below so we can learn some new things to try.
And stay tuned, a sneak peak of a book chapter will be in the next newsletter.
I would love to hear your thoughts. Who knows what good we can do together?
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