Mary-Jo Hill

15 Dec 2020
It's the last blog post of 2020. Time to look back and evaluate the hardest year we had in recent history.

On December 31st, 2019 I highly doubted anyone expected 2020 to be what it has been so far. What started as an ordinary year quickly became one of the most challenging, scary and crazy years the world has ever faced. The economical damage caused by a ‘small’ virus was similar to the post-War one and life losses are more than 1 million (more than 61,000 only in the UK). Like the rest of society, schools, the education field in general, had to fit this new reality in which social contact was not an option anymore.

Keeping students motivated only through online lessons was one of the greatest challenges in education, at break neck speed for decades. Adapting to new guidelines that are constantly changing and the weight of emails and risk assessments that could outweigh any encyclopaedia collection on a bookshelf. Fighting for student’s grades after the failure of a new grading system. Keeping everybody safely spaced and sanitised while in school. These were some of the challenges faced by education professionals this year. In all the coaching sessions this year, I could feel how the process was tiresome. How incredibly hard working school staff are. Headteachers, teachers, teaching assistants and further staff dealt with so much more that we can even imagine. However, their constant courage was impressive. It showed clearly why schools are the backbone of our society and how education professionals urgently need to be more valued and supported.

2020: There was a Silver Lining?

If this year had a silver lining, I would point out how this very serious health crisis we are still going through showed up the strength of communities. The solidarity and sheer goodness demonstrated during the lockdowns, the local support of small business, the aid to vulnerable children and families and a full blown force of nature to embrace technology in education. It was a good reminder that kindness and creativity still exists. And what has it ruptured in our education systems and procedures? What will we want to repair or continue next term/ next academic year and what will be lost under new practices? Parental engagement. Communication. Expectations. Lunchtime routines. Zoom. Staffrooms. Curriculum. Assessment.

My hopes for 2021

With 2021 approaching, I can only hope that things improve for all of us. Schools and society in general. I wish that we all have more scheduled time to recharge our energies, to stop and breathe. I hope that budget holders finally acknowledge the importance of coaching and supervision for education professionals, of taking care of them, of listening to their concerns and working out in a professional manner how future education strategy is formulated on a local and national level; and how to implement that successfully for all stakeholders. That Coach for School Improvement keeps growing and contributing to the educational field. That more and more professionals could find their best version for their field.

Finally…

I want to wish a Happy Christmas and a Happy New Year to all Coach for School Improvement clients and partners. It was a challenging year and I am most thankful for the privilege of having coached each one of you. Cheers to a better and more hopeful 2021.