What if kids loved going to school? Hasn’t this been one of our dreams pretty much forever, from the dog days of September and the endless days of Spring when we were young, to our adult lives in the classroom as teachers? What if school was something that students looked forward to, rather than a chore to be done or an experience to be endured?
This is exactly what I am hearing from many K-12 educators this fall, at least those who are fortunate to work at schools or within districts that have returned to at least part-time in-person learning. The kids are STOKED to be back at school, even if they have to wear masks and stay socially distanced. They love the time with their friends and teachers, and even if we can’t hug the little ones, it is almost universally reported that students would much rather come to school than learn on a computer at home.
Here is a design challenge with infinite upside: How might we capture this lightning in a bottle? How might we construct “school” going forward to keep alive this joy in our students and teachers? Do we need to periodically have a “week of home-based virtual learning” to remind us all that being together is better than not? Should we forever embed moments of mindfulness in our days to reflect and remember on the trials of 2020?
I don’t have an answer to this challenge, but there is something here. Let’s notice it and playfully wrestle with it. I am not sure that there is a more rewarding outcome and critical lesson from the pandemic if we can distill how to capture this joy in the long run!