It’s time for the faculties to recuperate

The following is an excerpt from Rebound: A Playbook for Rebuilding Agency, Accelerating Learning Recovery, and Rethinking Schools, a new book by Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, Dominique Smith, and John Hattie. You can now order the book with a 25% discount and free shipping with the code WAT25. There’s also an administrator-only version called Leading the Rebound: 20+ Must-Dos to Start Your Teaching and Learning Again.

You have been stretched. You were drawn. You’ve gone through the wringer, tested, and retested. You will likely feel like a rubber band holding it together but under great tension. But the problem with the rubber band analogy is this: they either break or they return to their original shape. Neither of these are good options for you, your family, or your students. We need to see and feel the excitement of learning again. We have to exchange ideas with our colleagues again. But we also need to heal from the traumatic experiences that have shaped the recent past.

It is time to take a rest.

We chose this word because it allows us to acknowledge that the experiences we have had will always have an impact. There will be a lasting impact from the time we were quarantined and isolated. Seeing some of our students and colleagues suffer will have a lasting effect. We may have suffered. We have been changed.

But the word rebound also recognizes that after a decline, setback, or adversity, value and strength can rise. There is a bounce-back term included in the word rebound. Rebound asks us to consider what worked well and what didn’t, what to keep from pre-quarantine, and what to appreciate during quarantine class. Rebound means that we can go back to the pre-COVID world or learn from it and do better. After all, why should we go back to unjust school systems when we can build something else? We use the term rebound in the sense of “our health is on the up”. That means we can learn from the pandemic doctrine to come back better.

It is too banal to say that time will heal all wounds.

These wounds are part of us now, but they don’t have to determine our future.

To recover, we need to come to terms with the collective experiences we have had, including the traumatic ones, and rebuild our sense of self. We need to help our students do the same. And we need to recover and put our students’ learning back together. We can choose to see this as an opportunity to make positive changes to schools and learning for more students. To do this, we have to adopt what we have learned and create a new school language. Let’s not just go back to school, let’s get back to school stronger and better. Our schools are booming.

For more strategies for creating “better normal,” see Rebound, Grades 6-12, A Playbook For Rebuilding Agency, Accelerating Learning Recovery, and Rethinking Schools and Leading The Rebound: 20+ Must-Dos to Start Your Teaching and Learning Again . Use code WAT25 for 25% off and free shipping.

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