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Back To School: Why “I don’t know” may be the best answer for teachers to give as students return to class

Published: Aug. 19, 2020 at 8:37 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - As schools prepare to open up this week teachers and faculty members are attempting to get in some last-minute cramming in an effort to be ready for a year without precedent. All this week the state has been holding online Zoom meetings covering a range of topics including safety.

Ken Trump, President of National School Safety and Security Services, was brought in as a guest speaker. In a normal year he might focus more on active shooter situations or unruly students but as we head into the fall of 2020 Covid-19 is the number one safety concern on most minds.

Mr. Trump says he’s never seen anything like it in his career and that teachers will need to be adaptable and honest with their students whenever possible.

“We all like to do our best to have all of the answers, to be in control, to have some kind of answer to everything but we want everyone to know it’s OK to say I don’t know. Communicating in times of high ambiguity and uncertainty there are still ways to do that where you can instill confidence with your stakeholders but also be candid, transparent, and authentic.” Says Trump.

Another keyword that came up in the seminar was “pivot.” Ken Trump believes that while teachers and administrators will have plans in place heading into the year they need to be willing and able to pivot if and when things change during this complicated time.

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