Principals Pen Friday, 17 Jul 2020

This year the vast majority of our students participated in Living Faith Online in the family home for a period of time.

Whether they were crying out to re-join the lengthy school drop-off queue, or if they were discovering a slower pace and blissful joy in the newly-imposed routine of learning from home, for a number of weeks parents found themselves more deeply engaged in their children’s formal learning than ever before.

The return of students to school, coupled with the fact that social distancing measures prevent parents from coming on-site as they have in the past, is for many parents a profound loss. Some of you have expressed a sense of distress and grief as you reveal that, what had become an intense connectedness with your children’s academic learning, has seemingly been ripped away. You’ve shared your feelings of confusion, emptiness and sadness. This is a very honest response. The emotional struggle is real.

It doesn’t help that, at the end of the school day when you ask your children, ‘How was your day?’ the typical response you receive is ‘Okay’ or ‘Fine’.

When you ask, ‘What did you learn today?’ do you hear the traditional, ‘Nothing’ in reply?

‘What was the best part of your day?’ ‘Lunchtime.’

There are many alternative questions you can ask your children. These questions have the potential to ignite a more productive and meaningful dialogue to connect you with your children’s schooling experience.

I am not at all suggesting that these questions are a solution for the loss felt with the shift from learning-at-home to learning-at-school, but they may serve as a strategy to reduce the gap that you might be feeling at this time.

  1. What are you grateful for today?
  2. What made you laugh today?
  3. What surprised you today?
  4. Who helped you today?
  5. Did you make anyone happy today? How?
  6. Who were you kind to today? Who was kind to you? Who did you see being kind to someone else?
  7. Who didn’t have a friend at lunchtime today? How could you support them?
  8. What was the hardest thing, today, about sticking to the golden rule of treating others as you would like them to treat you?
  9. Tell me about someone who is very different to you. How could you get to know them better?
  10. What games did you play at lunchtime today? Who did you play them with?
  11. What risks did you take today?
  12. What challenges did you face today? How did you overcome them?
  13. What made you feel proud today?
  14. Did you read anything interesting today?
  15. Can you teach me something you learned in Maths/Daily 5/Christian Studies/PBL today?
  16. What did you learn in school today, that you think I wouldn’t have learned in school when I was your age?
  17. What questions did you ask your teacher today? What questions did you ask your classmates today?
  18. What is something you want to improve in?
  19. What is something you’ll want to do differently tomorrow?
  20. Is there anything on your mind that you want to talk about?

Society tends to dwell on the negative. But now is the time for us to reflect on the unexpected positive outcomes that have arisen in the first half of 2020. We, the adults in our community, may benefit from asking ourselves some questions, too.

  1. What have I learned about my child?
  2. What has surprised me about my child?
  3. What developments have I seen in my child, in terms of adaptability, resourcefulness, resilience and independence?
  4. What have I learned about myself?
  5. What has surprised me about myself?
  6. How have I grown in adaptability, resourcefulness, resilience and independence?
  7. What unrealistic expectations of myself have I let go of?
  8. What activities has this pandemic afforded my family, that we wouldn’t otherwise have experienced?
  9. What will my family forever do differently because of 2020?
  10. What am I grateful for?

Jane Mueller, Principal