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  1. Consider the grade-wise, section wise ‘syllabus’ for the year and evaluate it basis of essential/non-negotiables against the backdrop of a virtual engagement for most parts of the academic year, and a physical interface when the world does normalise. Rushing to ‘complete’ with practical challenges of fatigue etc needs to be factored in when planning in the virtual world, and then needs to be a thorough unbiased SWOT with a climate survey that involves all stake-holders – parents, teachers and students. As a Head, it is important to effect timely reductions/revisions and additions as the year evolves but ‘packing’ it in because that is the ‘norm’ needs a re-think. Assessments therefore need to be continuous and seamless and include a combination of online and offline questions

  2. It is critical that the Head understands the functional (academic) levels of every section, the characteristics and attitudes to learning, also be mindful of the household circumstances. There is great merit in admitting that the dynamics of the grade changes every year as every batch is different and re-setting some goals to match their pace is important as it was in the physical world

  3. Check if the curriculum reflects Project Based Learning and differentiation in a way that will add value to the teaching-learning process and make it more ‘engaging’ for students. It is about active engagement and not passive learning, and this needs to be guarded against and one effective way is by class observations and sharing feedback with teachers real time

  4. Consider revising the every day timing, number of classes scheduled, and some break in between sessions for ‘down-time’. Also consider the merits of a 4 day week instead of 5 days, some break away sessions every month dedicated to different activities (For example Math Week, or Science Fest or Career Week etc)

  5. Inclusion of skilling sessions for teachers to utilise the best of tech tools and make it interactive, immersive and deeper learning and tracking sessions. PD’s must be scheduled at least twice a month to keep things alive

  6. Communication with parents grade-wise and not as a whole school update to make the whole teaching-learning process more effective. Communication could be in the form of self-help videos, voice notes, short ppts – anything to get the point across and as reminders – this is necessary but remember to make it crisp, to the point

  7. Regular feedback channels through surveys, polls etc is important to make sure the needs of the hour are incorporated. The acceptance of the variables changing dramatically is a reality, and the only way to combat is to keep the communication crisp and up to date

  8. Dedicate days for ‘teacher-empowerment’ and their mental well being and welfare. Regular class observations, staff meetings, circle time with the teachers will help understand their personal and professional needs better and as a Head one can create solutions to motivate and drive their enthusiasm forward

  9. Have an eye for news and developments of the industry and also develop a futuristic mindset that enables you to plan ahead and factor in contingencies. Know what’s the latest and have the ability to predict trends, so that planning ahead creates preparedness

  10. Delegation is always a good sign as you build roles for the team, but remember assigning equitable tasks so that everyone feels empowered and importantly motivated to do their best. Also follow ups will prove crucial as the year will demand experimentation and therefore an organised planner for the year, designed to achieve all to-dos fed into an IT platform will help navigate the time allocation to what is extremely important and relevant

…. many more little tips, and I must say, parenting in Covid19 times does require one to dig deep and find that patience and strength, and therefore attach a great deal of importance to your own mental health, wellness, fitness, and ‘me-time’. A happy you will be a content you, and this brings out the best in your relationships with your children.

Author

Fatema Agarkar

Founder, Agarkar Centre of Excellence Veteran of 3 educational start-ups – is now a Founder of Agarkar Centre of Excellence, Fatema’s passion for teaching-learning and children defines the different roles she has crafted – as an edupreneur, educator and mentor.

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