The situation we are facing with the Corona Virus is devastating. I can’t imagine what it is like for those who have been laid off or whose income has been cut. I’m worried about the most vulnerable getting sick. I am worried about my students who count on school to get their most basic needs met and for connection to loving adults. My heart aches for the disappointment students are feeling due to missing out on school and sporting events, activities with friends, and social connection. There’s a lot to worry and feel sad about, but I have a choice. I can talk about how awful it is and lament about everything our students will be losing, or I can focus on what I can control–the use of the time I have been given.
The first week I was bombarded with information and resources. I was on information overload. In addition to dealing with and responding to the realities of the situation and trying to communicate constantly changing information to my community, I felt like I needed to be a step ahead and analyze and problem-solve this new reality of distance learning and how it would look at my school. I had to organize both the logistics of what was happening in the present and what might happen in the weeks to come. One of my first tasks was to sort through all the resources coming at me for distance learning. I had to figure out a way to both organize and house access to the materials, and make them accessible to the staff and to the school community. I used my school and staff blog pages as the hubs for the resources and then used social media and school communication channels to share them. I also had to unsubscribe to a bunch of companies who apparently launched email campaigns to let principals know of their resources they were offering free during this time. This management took most of the week, but was important for me in order to position myself better mentally moving forward.
As I went throughout last week, not only did I have to take on the roles of sorter and sifter as I went through the resources, deciding what we could use and what would work for our school, but I also had to do that with the Professional Development Opportunities that were coming my way. Many of the leaders I follow were offering free webinars and mastermind opportunities. I had this nagging anxiety that plagued me…much like Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) that some face when looking at social media. I didn’t want to miss out on any opportunities. I signed up for what I could and quickly deleted what seemed less important for this time.
As I enter into the second week, I don’t feel as overwhelmed by what is coming at me, but I feel a pressure to do well with what I have been given. I am very fortunate to have a career in which my income won’t be affected by the shutdown of school and businesses and therefore, I feel that I owe it to my community to make something good come out of a bad situation. I plan to apply the strategies I use to manage my time during school to “Distance Leading.” I will set my “Big Three” Most Important Things to focus on each week then build my calendar with routines that support and connect to my “Big Three.” I know if I see this time as an opportunity for our school instead of a setback, not only will I be in a better state of mind to lead my school during this crisis, but we may emerge stronger.