Go with the flow

Here we are, many schools in the throws of remote learning, some just beginning, and others still waiting for the master plan to unfold. A new, hopefully temporary, normal has entered our world of education while advice, resources, and warnings abound.

It’s overwhelming although intentions are to help each other out. It’s a beautiful mess, honestly, but we must remember our students come first.

Their safety and well being come first.


What bothers me more and more each day is the influx of “rules” that are being imposed upon students in this new video-based environment. Well-intentioned, but I dare to say publicly — misguided and in danger of wielding the opposite results than we all wish to see.

Emails, tweets, social media posts abound containing “no toys allowed”, “No pets allowed in your room”, “No siblings allowed when you are ‘in class’”…the list goes on.

It reminds me of the book, “No, David” by David Shannon. In the end, yes David feels the love, but the entire book is based on “no” and how it effects David…on the final page is a “Yes” and “I love you”…but we don’t have to re-write this book with our students and wait until the final page to show our “I love yous”…

What are we really saying to our learners?




Let’s take a step back.

How are your regular classroom rules, expectations, or norms written?

Are they a list of “nos” and “don’ts”?

If they are, my friends, it’s time to rethink that. I’ll blog on that later.

If they aren’t….then why are your remote learning regulations spelled out this way?

Stress is causing many educators to take on a dictatorship style with rules and regulations right now. Reacting, trying to solve the issues they are seeing quickly rather than calmly and with love. We all deserve the love and compassionate approach, students and educators.

Please, resist this temptation to act swiftly and abruptly.

Embrace the unexpected, the dog busting into your learner’s room, the sibling screaming because they want big siblings to play with them, the impromptu puppet show a creative student is displaying in the camera, the up close and personal view into your learner’s mouth as they experiment with their device’s camera angle…

The list of unexpected moments goes on, but this is life. This is real. These are moments where we have the choice to say “No, David” or embrace them and add a little ‘silly’ to our day, add a little extra ‘show and tell’ time. It’s April 1st, maybe share some jokes or silly stories. Add in a scavenger hunt where you task your learners to go and retrieve items from their homes to show you — you can keep this apart of academics or completely just for fun.

Their behaviors (like clinging to toys) are communicating something to you — take a moment to listen and find ways to incorporate this into your class. How are you involving students, using their voice and choice, making learning relevant in this new environment? Take a moment to pause, reflect, and shift if necessary.

This is the new {temporary} normal for us. We have to choose how we react, adapt, and still be the one our students love to be around, confide in, take risks with, and be vulnerable. Yes, also learn with and from — but that doesn’t happen in their do not feel safe, loved, confident, and as if they belong. Their basic needs still need to be met and we might find we have to meet them differently than we did in person…I guarantee this is the case. Resist the temptation to fight…find a way to embrace and go with the flow here.

Are you enjoying sending emails to parents and/or students with a list of “Don’ts”?

Are you enjoying the stern face staring back at you on your device’s screen as you “lay down new rules”?

Stop, take a breath (or 3), and let that stress out in a different way.

That’s my challenge for everyone, myself included — resist allowing the new stress of this situation to turn you into an educator that you aren’t.

Our students need us, they need you — not a platform, not harsh, reactionary rules, not additional academic work to “take up time”

They. Need. You.



#ExpeditionSchnekser #OutdoorEdCollective #BoilingRiver #EducatorExplorer she/her #scitlap Founder @OutdoorEdColl National Geographic Grantee

Becky Schnekser

#ExpeditionSchnekser #OutdoorEdCollective #BoilingRiver #EducatorExplorer she/her #scitlap Founder @OutdoorEdColl National Geographic Grantee