How primary schools stepped up in 2020
We often say when teaching problem solving, you are teaching what to do when you don’t know what to do. This has never been demonstrated more clearly than during the pandemic. The resilience shown by children and their primary teachers should remind us what they are capable of and support our planning in 2021.
Plan for resilient learners
This generation of children have gone through something that no generation has had to before. In 2020, they lost their routine, and the dynamic between home and school shifted. For the best part of a year, children have been living in a world where people’s faces are always covered, yet they still smile back when the creases of an adult’s eyes show warmth.
I’ve heard this said many times when returning staff talk about their experience on residential trips, “I didn’t know that he could do that.”
This is an important reminder that struggle is a huge part of learning and when you are struggling, you need resilience in order to persevere.
This year, our learners have shown what they’re capable of. Understanding this will ensure children have room to discover concepts for themselves, grasp mathematical problems and tackle them in the same way they have for the majority of 2020.
Know that teaching staff will persevere
Of course the children’s resilience was supported by the huge planning efforts made by the staff of every school. Change is not always greeted with open arms and, at times, this is justified. But change on this scale has not been experienced by anyone currently involved in education.
The extraordinary effort that was made when the world turned upside down in March should be applauded, and should also remind you of the resilience of the staff.
There is no doubt that many teachers will need the upcoming break more than any holiday before. The fact that education continued from the first day of lockdown to the last day of the first term shows the level of commitment educators have for the good of the children in their schools.
And while there’s bound to be further disruption and hardship, remember that we can all greet change with pragmatism, strong analytical skills and a single-minded focus for the well-being of our school community.