Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash


red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io



I can't believe it's already September. Labor Day's when I usually lament summer being over, yet rejoice that school has started!


black head black head assets.rebelmouse.io



Labor Day is when I stop wearing white shoes. However, due to Texas heat, I will not give up my white jeans for at least another month or so. But, thanks to COVID-19, I barely go out.


red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io



Oh yes, the coronavirus has definitely changed everything, whether going out or going back-to-school. I know the last few months of school were online but I'd hoped the new school year would be back to normal.


black head black head assets.rebelmouse.io



That was wishful thinking. I know this is not how Sawyer planned to start her senior year. The good news is she already completed most of her critical classes, although the spring semester was a mad dash to convert to online learning, and may have been less rigorous than usual.


red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io



At least, like many teenagers, she's comfortable being online. But I can't even begin to imagine how schools that have always centered on in-person learning can make the shift to online teaching. How do you spin on that dime? And what about elementary school, where so much of it isn't book learning, but actually doing things in the classroom?


black head black head assets.rebelmouse.io



Educators – with students of all ages, including adult education – will have to be creative and innovative.


red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io



Now there's an understatement! Especially as sitting in front of a computer all day can get tedious. Well, for anyone except you.


black head black head assets.rebelmouse.io



Sawyer is very lucky. She has a laptop computer with all the software she needs and, minor interruptions aside, reliable Wi-Fi at home. What about all the students who are not as fortunate? What about the school districts without the manpower and expertise to develop and offer online teaching and online resources?


red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io



Gee, I hate to admit it, but there are so many things we, no make that I, take for granted, until something happens. So, how are those students coping?! It seems so unfair.


black head black head assets.rebelmouse.io



There definitely is an education inequality, and there is no quick fix. Meanwhile, schools are scrambling to get computers they can lend out, Wi-Fi is being made available by non-educational entities, and learning to teach using "less- than-smart" phones is being done by very creative and dedicated educators. They are our new front-line heroes.


red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io



Absolutely! Can you imagine what going back to school would have been like if the coronavirus had struck decades ago when we were in K-12? Or, even 20 or 10 years ago?


black head black head assets.rebelmouse.io



I hope that is a theoretical question, as you know that I prefer to look forward, not backward. Anyway, before the internet and social media, things would have been very different. On many fronts.


red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io



All I know now is that the coronavirus is not only impacting learning, but also grades and testing, which is a HUGE part of what school's all about.


black head black head assets.rebelmouse.io


Actually, in that regard, COVID-19 might be a good thing.


red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io



Excuse me? I know you can spin anything, but really?! How can the coronavirus be good on any front?


black head black head assets.rebelmouse.io



I will not get on my soapbox, but the focus on grades, standardized testing, and teaching to the test has not made education better. The lack of preparing students for life, but instead preparing them for grades and test scores, has led to a ripple effect that impacts not only students in terms of becoming productive individuals, but businesses seeking employees that possess more than just book knowledge.


red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io



Yes, I know. Well, after years of listening to you talk about this, I know. I certainly didn't when I went off to college. You, of all people know my story – great grades, great college, but totally clueless about life. But whether you like it or not, students need grades and testing scores to move to the "next level".


black head black head assets.rebelmouse.io



Really? Not this year. Standardizing testing, including the SAT and ACT tests, are not happening. Even class grades are being impacted. Since Sawyer is a senior, how she "presents" herself to colleges will have to be more than her GPA (Grade Point Average) and test scores.


red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io



No kidding! The original plan was to take the SAT this past spring and again in the summer/fall. Now, I can't help but roll my eyes. For years, all we heard about is how critical the SAT (or ACT) is and now, in what seems like the blink of an eye, it's gone by the wayside.


black head black head assets.rebelmouse.io



Which should help students who do not do well on standardized tests. Not to mention, the ones who are so much more than their grades and test scores.


red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io



That's what we're hoping. Sawyer, although a very good student, knew some of her course selections might be considered "less-academic" than traditional college prep classes. So, last year she put together what I call a "marketing document" for college volleyball coaches to share with admission offices that explained how and why she selected her high school classes, as well as identified her skills and strengths. Things like leadership, communication, teamwork, etc.


black head black head assets.rebelmouse.io


Guess she has been eavesdropping on much of what we have been saying for years.


red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io



Technically, you started it. But once you explained it to me from a business perspective, it made perfect sense. Personally, I think that if students had the flexibility to focus on being well-rounded individuals with strong skills sets and not just grades and test scores, it would be a huge improvement,


black head black head assets.rebelmouse.io



Which further supports my comment that COVID-19 could be a blessing in disguise. It is forcing the education world to come up with alternative ways of doing things. Some may be an improvement over how things had previously been done. While others will show how desperately things needed to be changed.


red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io



I couldn't agree more. But do you think change in the education world is possible? After all, it's human nature to just revert back to the way things have always been done.


black head black head assets.rebelmouse.io



There is no going back to the pre-pandemic world. COVID-19, and the associated economic upheaval and use of technology, has changed everything. Not just education.


red head red head assets.rebelmouse.io



I guess, in one way or another, we're all going back to school in that we have to learn how to do things differently. Although I'm not sure I want to as I really don't like change.


black head black head assets.rebelmouse.io


Well, like it or not, change happens.


Want to read other columns? Here's a list.

Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Turkey and all the trimmings? Celebrating with family and friends? Football games? Black Friday shopping plans? This year's Thanksgiving Day plans and memories will be very different, but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Or, at least, that's what Red decides after talking with Black in this month's column, Red & Black … What Would The Pilgrims Do?

Want to read other columns? Here's a list.

DON’T MISS A THING
For Red & Black Banter in your inbox ...
FOLLOW US ON
Design by Sawyer Pennington, Underlying photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Why should you be interested in a January column in November? Because, as you might expect in a January column, most people, including Red, would stroll down memory lane. And in 2020, it wasn't only the prior year, but also the prior decade. But, not Black.In Red & Black … Seeing In 2020, you'll discover her unique perspective that's relevant every day of the year, and especially as the next New Year is just around the corner. Plus, it includes another one of Black's memorable car analogies.

Want to read other columns? Here's a list.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


I know it can't be avoided, but I feel bad that Mom's spending Thanksgiving alone, but given the coronavirus it can't be helped.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


Unfortunately, there are many people in that situation this year. Myself included.


Red's Head Red assets.rebelmouse.io


Please. You only "do" Thanksgiving because it's expected of you. Unlike Mom, you don't even want me to make you a Thanksgiving dinner care package.


Black's Head Black assets.rebelmouse.io


Not a fan of turkey – but did you know that TV dinners were created because of Thanksgiving?
Keep Reading ... Show less