The following is an excerpt from Rebound: A Playbook for Rebuilding Agency, Accelerating Learning Recovery, and Rethinking Schools, a new book by Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey, Dominique Smith, and John Hattie. Right now, you can order the book with 25% off and free shipping using the code WAT25. There’s a version just for administrators, too, called Leading the Rebound: 20+ Must-Dos to Restart Teaching and Learning.
You have been stretched. You have been pulled. You have been through the wringer, tested, and tested again. You probably feel like a rubber band, holding it together but under a lot of tension. But the problem with the rubber band analogy is this: They either break or they go back to their former shape. Neither are good options for you, your family, or your students. We need to see and feel the excitement of learning again. We need to engage with our colleagues again. But we also need to heal from the traumatic experiences that have shaped the recent past.
It’s time to rebound.
We chose this word because it allows us to acknowledge that there will always be an impact from the experiences we’ve had. There will be a lasting effect from the time we quarantined and were isolated. There will be a lasting impact from seeing some of our students and colleagues suffer. We may have suffered. We have been changed.
But the word rebound also acknowledges that there can be increasing value and strength following a decline, setback, or adversity. There is a bounce-back notion contained within the word rebound. Rebound asks us to consider what worked well, what did not, what we need to preserve from the prequarantine, and what we need to cherish during quarantine teaching. Rebound means we can go back to the pre-COVID world, or we can learn from it and create better. After all, why would we want to go back to inequitable school systems when we can build something different? We use the term rebound in the sense of “our health is on the rebound.” That is, we can learn from pandemic teaching to come back better.
It’s too trite to say that time will heal all wounds.
These wounds are part of us now, but they don’t have to define our future.
In order to rebound, we need to address the collective experiences we have had, including those that were traumatic, and rebuild our sense of self. We need to help our students do the same. And we need to recover and reassemble our students’ learning. We can choose to see this as an opportunity to positively change schooling and learning for more students. To do so, we need to take what we have learned and create a new language of schooling. Let’s not simply go back to school but rather return to school stronger and better. Our schools are on the rebound.
For more strategies on how to create a ‘better normal,’ check out Rebound, Grades 6-12, A Playbook For Rebuilding Agency, Accelerating Learning Recovery, and Rethinking Schools and Leading The Rebound: 20+ Must-Dos to Restart Teaching and Learning. Use code WAT25 for 25% off and free shipping.