“Ok, class we’re going to kiss that phrase goodbye!” said the teacher, as she put a sticky note on a cute bulletin board shaped like lips that include phrases they would never say again. Already on the list is “hanitizer” for hand sanitizer and “lookit” for look at this. The class giggles and waves good-bye to the phrase the teacher wrote down. This new sticky note the teacher adds says learning loss.
There are many words or phrases we can use to describe that school year: incredibly challenging (for everyone); flexible; uncomfortable; and my personal favorite, unfinished.
The learning from the-school-year-that-must-not-be-named is not lost; teachers know exactly where this learning is and are working tirelessly to get our students there. Learning each year builds upon skills learned the previous school year, so if there is a gap or a hole in required knowledge teachers will need to address that before teaching new content. This is not news to educators, but perhaps it is for those who do not have the educational pedagogy that teachers possess. Teachers are looking through the existing curriculum at our sites to find the right resources to fill any holes in learning that may exist, only moving on when our students have mastered the prerequisite learning.
Learning vowel teams or long division may still be unfinished, a child learned how to use a Chromebook and to troubleshoot so well that they will never have to call tech support in their life. This learning is not lost; the child will learn vowel teams when he or she is developmentally ready, although that might be at a different time than initially expected. Teachers everywhere are not throwing up their hands saying, “Well, they should have learned this long division last year, so I guess we will just move on to the long division with remainders, now!”
Learning how to write a five-paragraph essay or in cursive may still be unfinished, a child learned how to adapt to a changing environment. A child will learn the format of a five-paragraph essay once they master the prerequisite writing skills and cursive as soon as their printing is legible. Well, maybe cursive is not taught at your child’s school, but that is not as a result of you-know-what. I digress…
No, this is not where we normally are in a “normal” school year; our world still has not yet returned to “normal”. We are still wearing masks in schools, having to social distance, contact trace and quarantine students as cases rise, sanitize everything, and much more.
Teachers everywhere are working tirelessly with students back in the classrooms so we can finally finish what we started. So let’s kiss the phrase “learning loss” goodbye!