Curriculum expectations need to change for now

Over the past year, learning has been one of our greatest uncertainties.

With a combination of online classes, in-person sessions, and even a new
type of hybrid learning, students have essentially been left to their own devices.

So, it should not come as a surprise that students have not been able to follow a traditional curriculum.

However, one thing is for certain: students are not falling behind.

We are in the middle of an unprecedented global pandemic. There is no falling behind.

As we are continually surrounded by virtual learning, we need to dissociate the stress and anxiety that comes with it. We need to see it as a chance to improve on previous semesters and readdress our expectations during this semester.

Kids learn differently. A student isn’t falling behind anything because of the pandemic. And if you think that they are, the standards they’re falling behind on are so arbitrary as to be meaningless.

But the idea that kids are not intellectually where they should be and that if we don’t do something about it now, they will be irreparably harmed, is pure fantasy.

Let’s get something straight: there is no ultimate timetable for learning.

COVID-19 is something none of us will ever forget. We will also never forget the lessons we learned during it.

We have learned how to live in a completely different world, completely isolated with just our family, no friends, no physical contact.

We are learning how to get along with everyone, to work together and to solve our problems.

We are also learning the misery of anger, how to keep ourselves sane within the same four walls every day. We are learning that we can do this.

None of us are falling behind on maturity. Yeah, we may be falling behind in chemistry. And grammar. Probably, calculus too. But we have learned how to handle the pandemic with more courage and perseverance than we ever thought possible.

Our brains are flexible. They’re almost always ready to grasp something. It’s just not up to society what those somethings are or when they’re achievable.

So maybe we don’t need to beat ourselves up if we don’t get through the typical number of lessons or units in a particular subject.

So maybe at the end of this pandemic, we will realize that our standard curriculum, albeit important, will take a back seat to a curriculum that we may not even know we are all writing.

That curriculum is the daily guide we are creating on how to survive a pandemic, a curriculum chock-full of life lessons on racial tensions and inequalities, political divides and the overall need for compassion.

Let’s begin to focus on how we are treating one another and what we are modeling for our future generations, the students who will study this pandemic. We are molding an entirely new concept of education.

It is these lessons that will have the greatest impact on our children moving forward.

It is this hope of increased civility and kindness that should excite us about where we can be as the pandemic eventually gets under control.

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