The topic for June is leveling up. It’s a gaming term meaning we’ve whacked all the moles, crushed all the candy, and vaporized all the evil ones so now we get to go to the next level of play. It’s not hard to move from those game scenarios to the truly surreal Covid19 which requires us humans to live virtually, maybe feeling sometimes like a mole that’s hoping not to get whacked.
At this point in the American high school year students have been getting ready to academically level up. During 2020 their normal definition of succeeding academically has been not only put on hold, but may evolve into a new direction. Parents, teachers, and counselors are struggling to figure out how to keep the institutions and normal process intact.
Perhaps we should stop struggling and focus on our small victories during this time.
High school is an intense experience for most students. There’s a variety of types of schools with a big range of resources. The common denominator for high school is trying to be academically successful with the possibility of going to college. And, it becomes a grind to that end.
High school can be an uneven experience for parents. Teens become much more focused on school and friends, making it seem like support from parents is no longer needed.
At the same time, teens often ask for a lot of reassurance and that may leave parents feeling they must ensure everything gets done correctly. It’s a scenario that doesn’t give parents, their kids, or their school counselors a comfortable sense of confidence that everything will work out fine.
Once the pandemic really got going it feltlike the rug got pulled out from under all of this. The health crisis can still be measured in weeks but this time of the year is steeped in measurement and decision.
The traditional ways of celebrating accomplishments, finishing strong academically, spending those last months with friends, and beginning to envision what the future will be are in a traffic jam. And, adults have made the decision to change grades to Pass/Fail in an effort to lower stress and equalize inequality. But, has it also let the air out of students’ balloons? How will they know they’ve made progress? Coming to an abrupt halt has given everyone a lot of time to think. What are we all thinking about?
I’ve been able to handle living in New York City in the daily stress of this pandemic by being grateful for the resources I have and identifying every silver lining I can. This has forced me to treasure small victories, and identify ways of succeeding that used to be undervalued.
We all know that it’s easier to be present and willing to give our most when we are invested in the project. It makes sense that kids won’t be present and invested if what they are learning isn’t relevant.
Kids can’t be in charge of their own education because they haven’t grown up yet. But, they have the right to be partners in its design.
A silver lining from having to become very involved in both work and school life for parents, teachers, counselors, and the kids themselves is being able to have a relevant conversation about what works instead of some disconnected definition of what achievement is supposed to be.
How do we stop struggling to keep it all going, and build on what is working already?
There’s so much to celebrate. Let’s start with the small victories so when we get to the big stuff there is a deep appreciation for how we got there.
Covid19 has changed what the game looks like. The changes can be the beginning of a new kind of scenario to level up to–perhaps one that doesn’t result in getting whacked on the head.