Learning While Healing

Testimony of Lynda Rubin to the Board of Education, September 9, 2021

I speak today as an elementary/middle school counselor of 38 years with the District. Children are my passion.
I’m not going to speed-read to meet the 2 minute deadline with Board members having to ask speakers to slow down to understand. This is too important so I’ll just include fewer vital points.
Just because the District appears to Return to Normal from a bird’s eye view, doesn’t mean there aren’t critical, unaddressed, traumatic issues that will undermine our children’s ability to learn if not addressed. Children and staff, are traumatized personally and educationally from last year. We need to lessen their angst to allow them to return to the ability to learn and thrive. Not only facts and data, but how to learn and think through trial and error. So much of education is learning how to learn to enable future learning. More important than learning any subject is to feel willing, even eager, to try. Having more staff to work with fewer children at a time is key.
This will be different from school to school, so one size doesn’t fit all.
Schools all have different personalities and ways of doing things. Embrace that! It works because teaching and learning are living things.
I’m not saying don’t have deadlines and goals, just let’s soften those deadlines, teaching concepts instead of pre-determined facts that will show up on a test, and allow children and staff to feel accomplished and energized.

Children without joy ingrain their fears pushing them deep. “I’m just stupid”! Ingrained fears impede learning and retention as well as joy and recovery.

When a child sees 12 hands going up, they assume all 12 know the answer even though at least ½ of them are wrong, but have the confidence to think they’re right. The child who’s scared to be wrong will take longer to learn anything, or even to try.
It’s like when any city or town is inundated by floods or tornados. Making people whole is expensive, takes deliberation and changing previous priorities to come back. People may be affected with new, different needs. How we come back is as important as when we come back.