As people are returning from summer and attention is beginning to focus on the upcoming school year there seems to be enthusiasm over the normal year that is ahead. I have been hearing it from staff and parents. People say, “you must be glad to finally have a normal year” or “finally it will be a normal start-up”.
I know what people mean. Given the labour dispute that carried on into last fall, and the seeming treadmill of the last five years which has seen us in a cycle of potential job action, job action, post job action – repeat – it is nice this is not sucking up all the oxygen in BC education again this year. But normal is an interesting word. The more I hear it, the less I like it.
For me normal feels boring. Normal is about average. And our schools are about the exceptional. More than ever we want to support our students and teachers to be anything but normal. We want to tap into the passions of our artists, athletes, entrepreneurs, scientists and engineers in our classrooms.
I am reminded of this scene from the movie Soul Surfer:
So let’s have a year where we have conversations about curriculum for our modern world and assessment that makes a difference for learning. Let’s have a year where we focus on excellence and equity. Let’s have a year where we teach and learn about residential schools, gender identity and our natural world.
Let’s embrace all the young people that will enter our classes the Tuesday after Labour Day – who each have their own story and their own struggles and challenges. And as they try to fit in, we need to remind them that normal is overrated.
And as the adults that have amazing opportunity to work with students, let’s commit to being better versions of ourselves this year.
But when we look to this year – let’s not let it be normal.