Schools must be re-humanized.

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Schools must be re-humanized.

When we returned to school after remote learning, the first thing I noticed was that my conversations with teachers had quickly become quite profound.

As an instructional coach, the role of a listener is one of the most important roles I play.

The best part of my job is seeing profound self-reflection lead to viewpoint shifts and instructional improvements.

As I listened to instructors reflect on their online teaching experiences, I heard a consistent desire for authenticity and a refusal to return to the status quo.

“I wasn’t making it work before the epidemic,” one instructor admitted, “and I don’t want to go back to that.”

Whether teaching online, in person, or in a hybrid setting, teachers took a hit during the epidemic.

Maria, another teacher, admitted to being angry and resentful at the end of the previous school year.

Despite her best efforts, her students stopped turning on their cameras and responding to her.

She was well aware that her students’ absences could be due to a variety of factors (none of which were related to her).

When she couldn’t see or hear people, her empathy dwindled.

She felt dissatisfied and hopeless.

I kept hearing her describe herself as a “machine” that churned out tasks for students to complete.

In our work as educators, we’ve all experienced the same phenomenon of being dehumanized.

We aren’t just teachers, though.

We’re moms with a lot of school-aged kids, parents with special-needs kids who need a lot of help, and people who have anxiety disorders that have been exacerbated by the pandemic’s worldwide concern.

We, too, are created in the image of God.

We must strive to make our schools more inviting to children while also making them more humane places for educators to work.

We cannot forget that we recognized each other’s humanity—that we shared a universal human experience—and then return to our daily lives.

Schools must be revitalized.

So, how do we do it? As a listener and coach, I’ve heard what teachers require.

This is what they are requesting of their coworkers, administrators, and communities.

Toxic positivity should be avoided.

Toxic positivity is the belief that no matter how bad things are, we should all remain optimistic…

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