The past several months have been a time of learning. Not all of the lessons we learned were planned, anticipated, or even welcomed. Yet, everyone has been exposed to conditions and expectations that have called for adjustment, experimentation, and persistence.
Teachers have learned to instruct and engage with students in new ways. Some educators learned to expand and refine strategies they have used in the past. Others have had to transform their approach and adopt new tools.
Students have also experienced a new context for learning. They have had to adjust to new ways of being instructed and novel ways of learning. Some adjusted easily. Others have struggled. Still others stepped back from learning completely and will learn the consequences soon.
Much has been written and shared about the lessons teachers and students have learned. Some of these lessons will inform good learning and teaching practices going forward. Others were lessons that demonstrated what not to do and were likely abandoned as soon as conditions allowed them to fall away.
Much less has been written and discussed about what educational leaders have learned. Yet, recognizing and sharing what we have learned is important, maybe even crucial, to the success of our leadership and the reassurance of those who will depend on us to lead in the uncertain and challenging weeks ahead.
Now is a perfect time to capture and share lessons you have learned during the pandemic. Some of the lessons may reflect how you experienced and view the challenges faced and how you view those that lie ahead. Others may be accidental insights growing out of rapidly changing circumstances. Still others may be lessons you learned about how not to lead. These can be especially important because they are true measures of learning, not just an application of previously possessed knowledge and skills.
You might also share who taught you key lessons and how you learned them. Don’t be timid about apologizing when the learning of a key lesson may have involved missteps, mistakes and even caused hurt to someone around you. Your openness about your learning conveys a message of earnestness and commitment to be a learner. It also communicates your willingness to be vulnerable; one of the key characteristics of leaders who succeed in uncertain, confusing, and challenging times, like we are experiencing now.
Of course, many priorities are competing for your time, but as a leader of a learning organization, sharing what you have learned can be a potent model and key connector within the education community. Taking the time to reflect on, capture, and share your learning may pay greater dividends than you can imagine.