Articles

Back to School – Fall 2020

Fall is my favorite time of the year.  I enjoy the cooler weather, the beautiful trees, and harvest season.  Applesauce, pumpkins, and Thanksgiving on the horizon are some of my favorite things.  My husband and I also got married in October and will celebrate 25 years of marriage this month.  I know you may not share my passion for fall, but I know you are passionate about something else we consider as happening in the fall – back to school.  It is great to see students back in our schools this year.

Back to school has taken many different forms this fall.  There are students studying at home with their parents, and at the other end of the spectrum, there are students in regular classrooms with teachers.  There is constant cleaning combined with social distancing.  Face coverings are on and off depending on your age, location, and medical conditions.  Some want or need to work from home while others are excited to be back in the building.

There seems to be no right answers for how we should have started the 2020 school year.  Health departments, parents, school personnel, and even the federal government have been included in our decision-making processes.  Never before has so much care, conversation, and consultation come together to bring a school year into existence.  And, on the change of any group’s recommendation we create and pivot to a new plan.

In June, I had the opportunity to hear Daniela Obi share a presentation called “The Power of the P.I.V.O.T.:  How to Overcome the Stigma of Failure and Pivot from Setback to Success!” during a conference.  Her work efforts are around helping people bounce back from failure and head in directions that meet their goals.

We are all making difficult decisions in very complicated times.  Some impact us individually while others are for our schools and organizations.  We will fail sometimes or make poor choices.  We need to give ourselves permission to take a break and determine a valid new direction.  When we have our mind set appropriately on our new path, we can start again.  EOPO superheroes, we can truly PIVOT, and be back to school in whatever form it takes on this new day.

2019-20 President's Theme Logo

Sincerely,

Katherine G. H. Reichley, CEOE
President
Educational Office Professionals of Ohio
Academic Assessment and Accreditation Specialist
Office of Academic Affairs
c/o Otterbein University
1 S. Grove St.
Westerville, OH  43081
USA
Phone: (614) 823-1173  Fax: (614) 823-1335 

 

Superheroes Move from Circumstances to Hope

Spring is the season of “pomp and circumstance,” but perhaps this spring we had more “circumstances” than “pomp.” Graduations were done virtually or diplomas were simply mailed.  Events were cancelled or postponed, and even family gatherings went by the wayside. We stumbled through a difficult spring learning to work from home and watching loved ones who are essential workers head out the door into unknown circumstances (wearing their face coverings). And, more recently, our country has woken again to the reality that life is not fair or equal for all and some groups of people have it rougher than the general public knows. Our circumstances are calling us to do life differently.

We have adjusted to new ways of life and expanded our ideas of normal. We have gone above and beyond anything we could have dreamed or imagined at this time last year.  Some of the superhero tasks we have tackled included the following:

  • Planting a garden for the first time ever or in a long time.
  • Scheduling professional development time and following through.
  • Taking classes in order to start or finish a degree.
  • Sewing face coverings in your spare time to donate to those in need.
  • Checking on at-risk neighbors and picking up their groceries while you were out.
  • Cleaning your house and organizing in new ways with unused items going to charity.
  • Volunteering in ways to support your community and those who are struggling.
  • Using your porch to read a book for pleasure or picking up a craft again.
  • Connecting with people to let them know how much you appreciate them.

 

Superheroes refuse to stay put and let circumstances parade by. They must come to the rescue and help out. Superheroes disguised in the everyday clothes of educational office professionals have a calling on their lives to jump in and make life better for students, colleagues, schools, and society. I challenge you to take this calling seriously and make plans for a hope filled future by starting to look down the road to see what might be ahead. Take the things you have learned the last few months and act on them as you prepare to go back to school.

One of the things for me is to stop for lunch and get away from my computer and office. Another thing is professional development is time well spent for me and my employer. A job-related one-hour webinar or 30 minutes spent reading a professional book or article makes you a better employee. This kind of work can be done on work time so schedule it and share what you learn with others as a way to encourage them to keep growing. In the last few weeks, I did a voiceover PowerPoint video and started using Adobe Sign. I am sure this will not be the last time I do these things, and my colleagues now want to learn how to use document signing.

Circumstances have left many people feeling fearful, angry, and uncertain. And, in all honestly, I have had those feelings on several occasions. But, I can’t let myself stay in that spot. I need to be hopeful that I can grow and learn through challenges, hopeful my school can be a safe place for everyone, and hopeful society can recalibrate, so every person feels included. When you are asked to contribute to the return to work decisions, participate thoughtfully and with others in mind. When you get invited to attend a seminar on ways to address systemic racism, volunteer enthusiastically and ask colleagues to come along. When you find someone having a bad day, smile and encourage them.

Being a superhero is about leaving situations better than when you found them. Being a superhero is about knowing you can make a difference. Being a superhero is about bringing hope to yourself and others. As your EOPO President, I have faith in each of you to reach beyond the circumstances and widely distribute hope this year. We can do this together.

2019-20 President's Theme Logo

Sincerely,

Katherine G. H. Reichley, CEOE
President
Educational Office Professionals of Ohio
Academic Assessment and Accreditation Specialist
Office of Academic Affairs
c/o Otterbein University
1 S. Grove St.
Westerville, OH  43081
USA
Phone: (614) 823-1173  Fax: (614) 823-1335