A speck of sand inside an oyster’s shell is an irritant, so the oyster coats the speck over and over until it is round and smooth. The round smooth object is now a gem—a pearl. All of us can point to things that have irritated us during the pandemic. Recently, I recognized that one of the things that had originally irritated me as the pandemic began was now something I value. I dubbed it a "pearl of the pandemic."
All of us can point to things that have irritated us during the pandemic. I’m sure many of the "irritants" we identify would be similar, and some would be unique to the individual. Recently, I recognized that one of the things that had originally irritated me as the pandemic began was now something I value. I dubbed it a "pearl of the pandemic."
I recently asked a group of administrators what they considered to be "pearls of the pandemic," and I was impressed by their answers. Here are just a few of the things they mentioned:
- Parent engagement has increased during the pandemic through the use of virtual meetings.
As one principal noted, "When I previously did a ‘coffee with the principal’ event, I would be lucky to get 10 people attending. Now, when we do a Google Meet, I am greeting 40 or 50 people!" Virtual meetings will likely continue in the future. Easing travel time and allowing people to join from anywhere, virtual meetings provide a desirable option for many parents and staff.
- New leaders have emerged.
The virtual learning environment requires a new skill set, and teachers who have adapted quickly are collaborating with their peers and showing incredible leadership. Principals are excited to see these new leaders stepping forward.
- Social-emotional learning opportunities are expanded, offered at both the elementary and secondary levels.
Last year, we implemented a social-emotional learning program in the primary grades. The lessons are designed to teach self-awareness and self-regulation—skills that are vital when dealing with stressful situations. Being able to offer these lessons to students across all levels is a definite "pearl of the pandemic!"
Hopefully, the next time something related to the pandemic irritates you, you will find a way to reimagine it as a "pearl."