What Do You Do With A Problem? – and Lord knows we’ve got em’…

After scrolling through social media for a little while on Sunday and realizing the effect it had on my anxiety, I decided yesterday to hop on a FB Live and share one of my favorite resources. I decided it couldn’t hurt to talk through it here too, because I think so many of us are trying to sort through life right now.

What Do You Do With A Problem, by Kobi Yamada, is a beautiful depiction of what can happen when we ignore, run from or dwell on all of the things that could happen when a problem arises. In this story, the problem is a tangible, ugly, scary cloud-like blog that continues to grow and consume our poor main character until he decides “Enough is enough!“, and tackles the problem. He realizes that not only is the problem manageable, but there is also opportunity within the problem.

I keep this book displayed in my office as a reminder to myself that when a problem arises, I need to keep it in perspective, tackle it as it comes, and look for the opportunity it presents. What I don’t need is to dwell and on and worry about what could happen in the future.

Friends, if you are in education or have school-age kids, problems are going to arise this coming school year. There are going to be situations you haven’t dealt with, decisions that have to be made, behaviors that you will see in students, academic gaps to fill in uncertain learning environments, health risks and the fear that goes along with that – theres no doubt about it that the 2020/2021 school year will be filled with unknowns, and yes – problems.

But if social media is any indication of how the masses are feeling, the anxiety of the coming months is stealing a lot of joy. I (mistakenly) read several strands on social media where fear and anger just bred more fear and anger and I read as the conversation escalated.

I think we can all agree that that is not healthy or helpful. The situations we are facing right now are unlike situations most of us have ever faced in our lifetime. The unknown itself breeds fear. But you are resilient. Your children and students are resilient. Tackle each problem as it comes, and if you can, start being proactive now!

Here are a few suggestions for turning anxiety into action:

  1. If you are fearful about having to keep kids “social distanced” in your classroom, start researching games and activities, and look at your current plans and see if you can restructure any of the activities you currently do.
  2. If you are worried about having to conduct digital learning, if your district has a platform, start researching and learning about that now, even if you may not be teaching it. There are probably online PDs that you can take…or heck – google it! It will not hurt to learn it!
  3. If you are worried about having to teach more than one subject as an elementary teacher, start reading through the standards now, and reach out to teachers who currently teach those subjects to learn the main concepts.
  4. If you are worried about the academic gaps your students will have, figure out the main concepts missed at the end of the year and start working them into your beginning lesson plans.
  5. If you are worried about the social-emotional gaps, start researching ways to build your students up social-emotionally from day one!
  6. If you are worried about COVID-19, we are all feeling that. My husband and I had to sit down and say, “What is our main fear with this?” Our main fear is that my son would spread it to my parents, who have compromised immune systems. To tackle this, we’ve decided that Tate will go to school (I fear as an extrememly active, extroverted only child, it will more detrimental to him to stay home), but we will social distance from my parents for a while after school starts. If you have a child with a compromised immune system, keep them home and research fun activities at home! (We have 60 Activities for Thinking and Learning at Home if you are looking for something!)
  7. If you are worried about racial tensions and equity – this is a very real issue right now as well, and we will be tackling this in the coming months- join myself and Dr. Shauna Sobers for a FB LIVE this Thursday at 7:00 on the Pressing Onward Page to start this conversation. 🙂

There will be problems. But you will tackle them one at a time, like you always have. We’ve got this. Don’t let it steal your joy in July!

Thanks for loving kids!

FB: Pressing Onward, IG: jenn_kleiber, Twitter: @onwardpressing, LinkedIn: Jennifer Stremme Kleiber

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: