A Turning Point in Education?

My mid-life career choice was education. The choice coming after many successful years in the fashion business and then having my good fortune tank for a number of reasons. The perfect storm!  Fashion is a mercurial business and as Heidi Klum repeats as a moderator in the galvanizing show,  Project Runway, you’re in one day and out the next. So being out, I simply chose to go back to school and earn a degree in Education. It was a long shot from being a fashion journalist and then owner of a lingerie company where I manufactured in Hong Kong. Certainly, not as glamorous but fulfilling in different ways.  In retrospect, it was a good choice with different rewards and challenges. Now, I have spent 20 years as a teacher of gifted and special education, and have just lately seen our educational system spun around based on the current crisis. This, in the long run, might be a blessing and here are some thoughts espoused by me and a fellow teacher I had the good fortune to work with while I lived in Scottsdale, Az.

In the fashion industry and certainly in education,  change from moment to moment is almost expected such as sudden changes in plans and mini-crises that pop up throughout the day. As an example, our current home-bound position poses many difficulties both for parents and kids. Students are at home when they’re used to being at school and they can stumble at the sudden change in schedule. Not that they don’t have summer vacation and holiday breaks throughout the year, but shifting from face-to-face learning with a teacher and peers to online learning in isolation can be tough for the most resilient of kids.

Here are some viable suggestions offered by my fellow teacher and author, Michele Venne.suggests.  Please check out her website you’ll find at the bottom of the page for more information.  She suggests, “setting up a schedule (whether for students or adults working from home) so there is some sort of predictability to one’s day. There are some students who struggle with “unstructured time.”  On-campus, this would be before and after school, lunch, PE, and some electives. A teacher may be able to curtail disruptive or anxious behavior in an academic classroom where the expectations are known, but when left to their own devices many kids seem to find trouble on a regular basis. The same happens at home during vacations and school breaks.

Because students will look to their caretakers for how to handle situations, it’s important for the adults in the home to also have a schedule or tasks to complete each day. Talking it out with your child can ease tensions and worries that students may have about this sudden need for flexibility when what they strive for is predictability. In order to develop skills to deal more positively with uncertainty, allow the child to share their concerns. Help them make contingency plans. Assist the student in setting up their own schedule so they have a sense of control.”  For Michele Venne check out her website at myjoyenterprises08@gmail.com

I would agree with many of my associates that society has moved forward into a space where students are no longer given the opportunity to be creative problem-solvers; to use logic and discernment and to think out of the box; not just believe everything they read whether in mainstream media or even textbooks. Perhaps now is their chance to have that time to make decisions and solve problems and be creative in ways that their recently discarded schedule didn’t allow. All species of organisms evolve if they can adapt.