Lessons Learned From the COVID-19 Pandemic

Lessons Learned From the COVID-19 Pandemic
Lessons Learned From the COVID-19 Pandemic

Academic Leadership

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many hardships for schools and families. However, a small silver lining of this time has been the moments of reflection it has afforded.

When the pandemic drastically changed the very basics of education delivery, everything was upended. Now, nine months later, teachers and leaders can reflect on what does and does not work in schools today.

As we share the silver linings we’ve discovered, we encourage you and your team to reflect on your own experiences to plan for the future.

Silver Linings for Students

The use of distance learning on such a large scale has enabled educators to recognize new possibilities and benefits for students.

  • Students feel empowered to take more control of their education. ISM has seen that students who have a voice in their learning, including what works for them and what doesn’t, have an easier time adapting distance learning.
  • Project-based learning helps convey key concepts. Project-based work and creative use of technology provide new ways to complete assignments and lead to more informative assessment. This allows students to work through the task at hand and receive feedback.
  • Students are still developing ideas and learning new things, even amid uncertainty. Student connection is still possible and necessary. Students can still work with each other in breakout rooms, using technology to maintain social connection. Our experiences this year have shown that even when the delivery of education is different, school can (and should) still be a place where relationships are built.

Silver Linings for Teachers

Teachers have also used this opportunity to reflect on their own practices and methods.

  • Curricula have been reassessed. Many lessons that worked in the classroom don’t work in distance learning. The pandemic has provided opportunities to review what works and what does not, instead of doing something because “it has always been this way.” This ensures students are learning the most relevant information for today.
  • Assignments are clear and focused. Today, teachers are more focused than ever on work that is authentic, meaningful, and relevant to students. The pandemic has forced teachers to revisit and revise assignments to ensure they are student-centric.
  • It’s easier than ever to observe other classes or teachers. Teachers and administrators can easily hop into a teacher’s online class to observe or shadow without causing any disruption. This empowers knowledge-sharing and collaboration.

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Silver Linings for Administrators

  • School leaders have also experienced some silver linings as a result of the pandemic. Administrators have witnessed their teachers standing up to a challenge. The pandemic has given leaders the opportunity to see how their teachers perform when presented with a task. They can see who is willing to adapt and who is unable (or unwilling) to do so, helping inform plans for the future.
  • The value of a positive school culture has never been more apparent. The pandemic has shined a light on the importance of a strong faculty culture. Schools have never faced such adversity, and those with strong cultures are a step ahead of their counterparts in keeping spirits high.
  • Working together is vital to success. Teams are juggling new methodologies, updated news every day, and students’ and teachers’ needs—collaboration and communication cannot be overstated.

The pandemic has shown the resiliency of school leaders, teachers, and students. It has proven that schools are capable of pivoting to deliver their missions with excellence. These are the silver linings of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As you reflect on your own silver linings, ensure you work with fellow leaders and teachers to put what you’ve learned into practice.

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