2020 has been a year of trial, turbulence and transition. We have all been required to transition into a very different way of life for a period of time. The constant shifting of the year can be difficult for us all, and especially our young men, to navigate. This week we share an article from, Andrew Fuller that was originally written for school leadership teams however, we believe he raises a lot of points that are important for parents and young people as they navigate their way back to the classroom. We have shared the points we believe are relevant and will help in the transition back to face to face learning.
Transitioning back to School–based Learning by Andrew Fuller
Trial-Turbulence-Transition-Transformation is the cycle of change we have all been going through.
We have all been through an incredible alteration of lifestyles. This has brought with it increased stress and times of exhaustion. While these feelings may lessen in the coming months, they will still occur, though hopefully less frequently.
I have outlined in recent papers the cycle of feelings that most people go through during these times:
- Fear and Bewilderment
- Are we there yet?
As if we haven’t had enough jolts and changes already, now we all need to adapt back into in-school learning. Let’s talk about how to make that transition as smooth and as successful as possible. (I look forward to writing about the opportunities for transformation soon)
1 - The Sleep Cycle
Sleep changes are a common effect of the recent times. Dreams change, schedules shift. It is time to re-establish a more usual sleep cycle. If you have ever experienced jet lag after travelling across time zones, you may know that it will take at least one day for each hour of time difference. For example, Melbourne is 9 hours ahead of London so as a general rule of thumb you can expect 9 days before you feel fully in the local time zone. Depending on how out of whack your sleep has been, try to give yourself the time to re-adjust your sleep cycle before returning to school. What sets our sleep cycle most powerfully is ‘first light, first bite’. Get up at the time you would need to on a typical school day and eat breakfast soon afterwards. If you can, go for a walk outside or at least sit near a window. Getting your sleep cycle back into sync with the school and work day improves learning and mental health
2 - Can’t wait to see you
One of the main things that helps us all to transition back is knowing there is someone there who is wanting to see us. We all look forward to catching up with good people and having some fun. Reaching out and making contact with school friends and specific teachers sets this up.
3 - Restart the year
We are not looking at a resumption of the year. Most of us have had quite enough of 2020 already. What we are looking for is a whole fresh start. During the turbulence, priorities and lives have been re-structured. Social connections have changed. The orientation we need to do now, is to form new connections and to renew our attitude towards learning and success. Limbering up for learning will involve rekindling friendships, warming up our curiosity and stretching our imaginations. We will all need a few practice runs before we feel we can safely regain our full stride.
4 - Plan for success
Given that the shape of the year has changed more than any of us expected, we need to plan for success. For senior students the risk is feeling that the year has got away from them and they feel they cannot succeed. Clearly this is not true. Firstly, they have all experienced the same setbacks. Secondly, there is plenty of time to catch up and succeed. Clear systems and plans will outdo slogging themselves into a frenzy or giving up.
5 - Less Really is More
It is understandable that some people will feel in a rush to make up for the time and opportunities missed in the early part of the year. Cramming in as much as possible to make up for lost time is a compelling idea. It is also a certainty that if we do this, it won’t work. Given the upheaval of past months, rushing too much or putting too much in place too early is a recipe for exhaustion, disenchantment and disengagement. While we are back in business, easy does it. Taking our time now to slowly rebuild a sense of success will pay off. Take it slow and make it fun! We have all had more misery than we need this year.