Let’s Start This Year by Focusing on Learning Gains

Don’t ever let anyone put on this year. That’s what I told my graduating senior class at the end of one the most difficult years of my career. It would be easy to reduce last year to nothing more than a footnote: Class of 2021. That was an pandemic year. You did not get a ‘normal’ education. But the 2020-21 school year does not need a disclaimer. It should be celebrated.

Students are encouraged to think about how they grew last year due to the pandemic. This lesson could also be used as an opening activity for the new school year.

A Reflection on Learning

Learning loss is real. We need to be careful about how we teach our children. We need to make sure they are safe and healthy. We need to provide support for families who may feel overwhelmed by this new reality. We need to work together as educators to ensure that every student gets the education they deserve.

Hard skills are measurable, while soft skills aren’t. Students should be aware of this fact when applying for jobs or internships. Students should also know that employers want people who can work well with others.

Soft skills are important because they make us more effective as people. We learn how to be compassionate, empathetic, and understanding. These are the kinds of things that make us better leaders. Learning loss during Covid- 19 helps us develop these soft skills.

Brainstorm Examples of Pandemic Soft Skill Development

Flexibility or adaptability, time-management, communication or teamwork, motivation or goal setting, and responsibility or independence are some of the soft skills that students developed during the pandemic.

Close With an Individual Written Reflection

When faced with a challenge, I am able to grow in responsibility and independence. I am responsible for my own schedule and know when to log into classes without bells in school. I am also independent enough to figure things out by myself.

Lacrosse is an important sport in high school. It helps students stay motivated and focused. When a student loses a season due to COVID-19, he/she should stick to their roots and focus on academics.

Students are going to need to use some of the soft skills they learned last year to succeed during the current situation. They might even learn new ones!

Pandemic learning made students more self-reliant and resilient, and gave them the skills needed to succeed in college. We should reflect on how much we’ve grown as a result of the pandemic, and celebrate the achievements of our students.

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