Focus on the positive

Posted 6/29/20

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) provided a first glimpse on what returning to schools in the state this fall will look like with its newest 63-page document, “Starting the …

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Focus on the positive

Posted

The Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE) provided a first glimpse on what returning to schools in the state this fall will look like with its newest 63-page document, “Starting the 2020-2021 School Year.”

Although the contents of the document really did not surprise most educators, parents and students, we have to admit it’s more than a little difficult to imagine what school will be like when students return this fall.

Many are wringing their hands about the changes coming — students and teachers wearing masks, breakfast and lunch, instrumental and choral music and the simple classroom organization.

Is it going to be different? Of course it is because everything is different in our world. Like it or not, the COVID-19 virus is still with us and it is our duty to protect our children, neighbors, friends and senior citizens.

So instead of wringing our hands and lamenting the directives, all of us — administrators, teachers, parents and adults — must look at the coming year as an opportunity.

How, you ask? Professor Barry Houser, director of the Marching Illini at the University of Illinois, provided one of most motivational posts we’ve read about the changes in our schools — and he’s right.

And while Houser was primarily talking about music education, his thoughts really apply to every classroom and every grade level.

“This is a time to reimagine what we can do in our classrooms — to focus on the individual student and their musical development. Don’t focus on what we can’t do. Look at the ‘how’ not necessarily the ‘what’ and let’s keep music education alive in each of our classrooms.”

Houser acknowledged there likely won’t be full halftime shows, parades or other performance opportunities for students  but “We can do things we have not been able to do before — engage with your community, support your football team, play for fans as they tailgate, share and take our music out into the community. It’s time to reimagine my friends.

“We must engage with our students and provide opportunities for them to be socially and emotionally engaged. They need us to make the right decision for their overall safety and well-being.”

Houser concluded with what should be each of our mantras: “We can do this — focus on the how let’s make it happen.”

Let’s be positive for our the sake of our children, our teachers and community.