As schools open, the first few weeks will be like sailing into a stormy sea. You know your destination is ahead, but at times it will be impossible to see over the choppy waters. Some schools and educators will let fear drive their decisions, while others will jump ship and try to swim back to shore. There will be dissension among the ranks, arguing amongst the crew and passengers who are desperate for attention. In other words, it’s inevitable chaos will ensue in one form or another. So how do we prepare for this storm and avoid the ship sinking?

1. Re-evaluate your communication plans

  • How do you currently share information with colleagues, parents and students?
  • Does your plan work if your place of learning changes (i.e. face-to-face moves remote or vice versa)?
  • If you are continually writing the same email over and over, think about rephrasing your message or creating a FAQ page for students/parents.
  • To avoid a back and forth email chain of confusion, a five minute call can be more time efficient.

2. Prepare your life boat

  • Make sure your crew is filled with lifesavers. Find a close friend, colleague, mentor, advisor, etc. that is willing to listen and offer positivity.
  • Have an oxygen mask handy (or if you’d prefer not to wear another mask, have room on your ship to take a deep breath)!
  • Make sure your main deck is available for quick strolls. When problems get tough and seem overwhelming you need to step away and take a walk. A brief walk down the hallway or a moment outside will do wonders. Don’t be afraid to let others know you need a minute to just step away. You AND your students will benefit from this quick pause!

3. Ensure your manifest is up-to-date

  • Have an up-to-date seating chart. If a student is showing symptoms and is being tested for COVID-19, administrators will need to notify families whose child may have been exposed.
  • If a teacher is showing signs of COVID-19 or tests positive, is there a plan B that is ready to be enacted? For example, who will teach his/her classes? How will virtual students access Zoom/Google Meet meetings with the new teacher? Will a sub have access to the teacher’s accounts, or will they be added as another teacher in Google Classroom?
  • Is there a master list of applications and student login information?
  • Are all grades kept up-to-date and posted online?

Above all else, remember that while the seas may be choppy right now, storms don’t last forever. Look for the rainbow ahead and know that the PLP community is here to help you successfully stock your lifeboat.

Want more personalized assistance to help you navigate through the stormy seas? Join PLP’s Connected Learner Experience and create a lifeboat that that will survive any storms ahead!

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Christen Dodd

Christen is a Connected Learning Specialist for PLP. After earning her MEd. in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Virginia, she began her career as a K-5 Computer Resource Teacher. She enjoyed collaborating with staff and creating technology lessons that engaged students, but caught “the bug” for presenting to educators on a national level. For eleven years, Christen trained educators both face-to-face and virtually with Verizon Thinkfinity. She also served as their Distance Learning Coordinator and Vice President of Professional Development. Christen has enjoyed working with Powerful Learning Practice since 2011 and continuing her work with educators, parents and students alike. Currently, she is also an instructional technology specialist at her children's JK-8 Catholic school.

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