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Education Corner: Foster positivity despite pandemic

FRANKLIN LIVING— The only thing certain about this school year is that nothing is going to be certain. 

While we have plans in place and protocols to follow that we have all diligently worked on this past summer, we all know these plans can change in the blink of an eye depending on how this virus continues to affect our area. 

All of the uncertainty is no doubt stressful for everyone – parents, students, teachers and administrators. We’re all feeling the effects of the uncertainty and lack of control over our circumstances. As I have reminded others and myself, however, we CAN control how we respond and the type of attitude we have during these uncertain times. 

For parents of school-aged children, having a positive and supportive attitude at home is especially important to those of us in education. Parents have a tremendous influence over their children, and if you have a negative mindset, chances are very high your children will, too. If, on the other hand, you make it a point to fill your conversations with positivity and a good attitude, especially where school is concerned, hopefully that will rub off on them as well and help ease any anxieties they have about a school year that is much different than any they’ve experienced thus far. 

This school year is going to be an adjustment, no doubt, so I’m not saying it won’t be difficult to maintain a positive and supportive attitude. There are aspects that will be challenging and tough. There will be times we’ll all want to throw our hands up in frustration. But when those times come, I hope you will remember your children are looking to you to set the tone for this year as much as they are looking to their teachers.

If you’re constantly critical of every decision made, they will be, too. If you routinely badmouth teachers, principals and administrators, that will probably taint their views as well – and with all the other obstacles educators will be facing this school year, a room full of students with negative attitudes fueled by negativity at home shouldn’t be something they have to worry about.  

So while class schedules, athletic events and extracurricular participation might not go exactly as planned this year, the best advice I can give our parents, students, teachers and community at large is to remain positive and supportive while we navigate these situations together.

Kindness and support really are the best gifts we can give one another right now, as always, and I sincerely appreciate the teachers, parents and students who are already modeling this in their classrooms, homes and lives. 

No matter what this year brings, it’s still GREAT to be a Golden Tiger!

Heath Grimes is the superintendent of Russellville City Schools. He and his wife Amy have three daughters: Leah, Halle and Erin.