Association of Washington School Principals
Volume 3 – 2020-21
Learning centers
Zoom Boom to Zoom Bust
Reflections on Life as We Know It — and How it Might be Going Forward
Chase Buffington
Director, Cispus Learning Center
Evaluation Criteria: Creating a Culture, Engaging Families and Communities
We are all about to embark on the next phase of the pandemic — the one where we return to life outside of our homes, and online.
Be cautious in the coming months; remember who you were before COVID forced you onto a screen.
Life is about living moments, experiences, and connections with others. It will not be easy in the post-COVID life: a few awkward stares with a mask off will take place. So will admitting you and others are socially awkward in person (maybe you were even before COVID). Conceding that blue light glasses can become sunglasses will take time. Our spider webs and dust will fall to the side as the light at the end of the tunnel reveals itself: “WE ARE BACK.”
We can embrace the new knowledge that we conformed to our challenges and developed a set of skills in our inventory during these past 18 months. But will the effectiveness of Zoom today be right for tomorrow?
When the pandemic started our full-time jobs came to a screeching halt. We had to decide what our new full-time job would be like virtually. It has, for many, successfully turned into screen time for 40 hours a week, sometimes more! Here is the catch: The service industry is experiencing the “WE ARE BACK” and “WE NEED HELP.” This means that many people are keeping that 40-hour virtual work life and adding another 40 hours of in-person life. The juggling begins, as this reopening takes full swing many will crash or have “The Big Burnout,” while deciding what needs to drop off in their duties.
Key signs of burnout can also include:
  • Forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating
  • Difficulty maintaining relationships and being present with loved ones
  • Frustration and irritability with co-workers
  • Physical symptoms, like muscle tension, pain, fatigue, and insomnia
At the Cispus Learning Center, we have been in survival mode and building mode. Now we must get back to service mode.
It is time for our leadership side to kick in. It is time for a reboot from where expectations were created and where they are going. This is important structurally, and for many staff/ families they need the words of encouragement, the voice of awareness, and the understanding that we all just went through it together.
At the Cispus Learning Center, we have been in survival mode and building mode. Now we must get back to service mode. All of this is transitional, and our entire team is recognizing, through no fault of our own, that little mistakes are happening. A little shrug acknowledging our faults, a lot of humility, and a get back on the saddle mentality is making for a positive return.
You might be questioning if you, too, will be returning with a positive attitude. A study was conducted about life after COVID, suggesting that social connectedness could be a boom in the coming years. What a great thing to focus on! Regardless of the report, new opportunities await us all and our choice about attitude will follow.
All of our staff are reconfiguring what work looks like and are being mindful about others in a positive way. As chaperones, parents, teachers, students, and others pour into our facility with a deep breath of freedom. We are saying, “WE ARE BACK!” — just give me a little time to find my compass and get my bearings.
To all our campers and friends: Take a little time to acknowledge how far you have come. What positives can be pulled from this? What mistakes have I made to increase my humble meter? At the end of the day, we are all humans and together sharing our stories.
Looking forward to seeing you all on the open trails ahead.
Healthline: Symptoms of Zoom Fatigue
Flipboard: Help Wanted Signs are Everywhere but Employers Still Having a Hard Time Attracting Workers
Greater Good: How Life Could be Better or Worse After COVID
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Association of Washington School Principals
Washington Principal | Volume 3 – 2020-21