So I was on a Zoom call with some old friends the other day, all of us in very different lines of work, and someone asked what was the most significant “new” learning that we have each experienced since the lockdown began. At the time we all answered flippantly and had a few laughs at each other’s expense, but after the call ended, I went away and thought about that question a little more critically. What I realised is that I have probably learned more personally and professionally over the past two months than I have at any point in recent memory, and as I look hard for silver linings that shine out of this lockdown experience, this absolutely has to be one of them.
Like most of us who do the same job for a few years in a row, we tend to get comfortable and confident with many aspects of the position, and ultimately feel like, “I got this”. Of course, we all get thrown once in awhile into a new experience or a new situation that expands our skillset, and helps us to grow and get better, and often times we even go seeking these experiences out on purpose, but when we get thrust into what we’ve all experienced lately, it’s a whole new ballgame.
Recently, I haven’t gone a day without having to learn something completely new, and it feels like I’m constantly out of my comfort zone looking for ways to be successful in this new reality. I’m learning new technology platforms and skills at a staggering rate, I’m learning new and creative ways to engage my students, my community, and even my family at home, and I’m having to learn new ways to keep my balance and peace of mind and positive spirit in tact while I’m away from all that I am familiar with. I’m sure you all hear and can relate to what I’m saying, as I know this is the reality for all of us these days…it’s hard for sure, and can be deflating at times trying to keep up, but here’s the thing, I’m starting to embrace it.
I’ve started to make a list of all the new skills that I’ve acquired since the campus closed and the lockdown began, as well as everything new that I’ve learned that has pushed me to do things differently, and when I stare down at the list it’s amazing to see how much I’ve grown as a person and as a professional. It’s empowering and energising and rewarding to see the level of resilience, and adaptability, and even confidence that has exploded out of this time in our lives, and for me at least, it has put a smile on my face. Like I said before, I’m constantly looking for a silver lining or two that will eventually come out of this difficult experience, and I think I have found an important one…we’re all growing and learning and succeeding in the face of adversity and uncertainty, and we will emerge at the end of this in many ways, better.
Anyway, it’s a great question to ask yourselves this week, and it’s a wonderful exercise to go through. It’s even a wonderful question and exercise to pose to our students at some point, as you know that they’ve been seriously pushed out of their comfort zones as well, and their new learning has surely been profound. It’s been a tough time for families and schools and educators lately I know, and it’s about to get even more uncertain as we think about what reopening might look like in the not so distant future, so find a way to focus on the positives, and all the new lockdown learning that you’ve acquired…there is a silver lining in there somewhere I know. Have a wonderful week everyone and remember to be great for our students and good to each other.
Quote of the Week…
“Smooth seas do not make skillful sailors” – African Proverb
Inspiring Videos –
The Opportunity of Adversity (An all-time favourite)