As we make our way through this period of off-site learning, it’s comforting to know that CA entered this situation with an already established dedication to seeing and living our mission through a lens of empathy and equity. We’ve lost (for the time being) so many of the visible reminders of what a diverse and vibrant community we are; the constantly-turning kaleidoscope of ways of being, thinking, expressing, and connecting that make our community unique and joyful; and the literal contact with bodies that collectively embody our pluralistic community.

Our culture of honoring the individual, whole adolescent in all we do will serve us well during this period of physical remoteness from one another that renders us unable to see the student in three dimensions right in front of us, under our noses, underfoot, within reach and grasp and embrace, exuberantly joyful in one moment, downright despondent in another moment, each a brilliant prism of intersecting and interacting social identities. 

We know how to teach responsively and differentially to our community of unique prisms when we’re in each other’s company at school. What adaptations should we consider in order to keep teaching responsively and differentially to:

  • the child who is so well-equipped as a learner that now maybe they are bored at home with the diminished amount of material and stimulation we can provide;
  • the child whose home circumstances are not as conducive to off-site learning as our expectations require (no quiet, private space to work, no reliable connection to the internet, no computer that’s consistently available, no day-to-day that’s predictable enough for them to get online when we need them to be online…);
  • the child for whom learning was significantly facilitated by the moment-to-moment social-emotional connection and cuing that only being at school in our care could provide;
  • the child who is concerned unto distraction about hateful bias being directed at people who look like them; or
  • the child who is concerned unto panic about the spectre of job loss or illness or diminishing resources at home? 

This is a lot to consider, especially as each of us is trying to coordinate our personal and professional lives that have become almost impossible to compartmentalize in the ways we were accustomed to.

~ Carlos Hoyt