The other day I was in a conversation with Amy Mittelstaedt, one of our amazing building principals, and I shared this time we find ourselves in feels like a giant virtual rollercoaster ride! Take a peek at this 20 second video and I’ll explain why I feel this way:
When we first received the news that our buildings were closing to traditional learning, it felt a little like when you first approach a line to get on a rollercoaster. You’re a little unsure and nervous but there’s strength is seeing that you’re not the only one about to get on the ride.
A little more information was released to schools and before the rollercoaster took off training was provided – so like the dad in the video – we could simulate what the ride might be like before actually getting on it. The ride begins…slow and steady and traveling on the flat ground. Meals are distributed, childcare is put in place, and teachers begin to think about how to provide an online connection and review of learning. “This isn’t that bad!”
Then a bit more information comes out and a lot of obstacles begin to come into view. Questions begin to churn in everyone’s minds. “How will I do this while being a parent myself?” “What does this look like?” “What about our families without devices or connectivity?” The rollercoaster is starting to curve and go up a hill. Safety equipment has been provided in the form of various resources to our staff, families, and students. “Will it hold me?” The rollercoaster travels higher up and begins to pick up speed! This is a bit scary but we’re feeling safe in the car and although we can’t fully see what’s ahead we’re feeling as confident as one can be on a rollercoaster. “We’ll be okay!”
…and then the ride hits the top of the hill and our eyes pop wide-open as we are ready to begin contacting students and beginning this new phase of continuous learning. It’s scary but we have no choice, it’s go time! The car is moving whether we feel ready or not. ZOOOOOM (bad pun intended) goes the car!!! The wind is blowing hard against us but there is a feeling of exhilaration and excitement as well as we connect back with students and families. There are bumps and curves coming up next but that first dramatic scary part is done! The car evens out and we’re back on flat land rolling along at a nice pace…awaiting more information; preparing for new hills and twists.
Yes, there will be more hills, twists, descents, flat land, and at times we may want to jump off the ride like the little guy in the video. We’ll need to lean on our colleagues who – like his sibling – have found their way in this new time and are moving right along. Seek comfort in their courage, ask them to hold your hand when needed, and remember that there is safety equipment keeping you from harm in the form of so many who are on the ride with you and are supporting you with virtual seat belts and harnesses.
Who knows. We may just find ourselves getting brave enough to raise our hands above our heads as we go down the next hill! Just remember…it is okay to scream every once in awhile. It’s proper roller coaster etiquette!