The Open Door: Post-Pandemic Education

Aaron ElseBlog, Innovate Better, Lead Better, Teach Happier


  • In post-pandemic education, we will have the opportunity to make a change; we have to take it.
  • Instead of adding things to our plates, we should be replacing dated practices with more effective practices.

Post-Pandemic Education

In December of 2020, COVID cases were raging with no end in sight.  As you remember, most of us were teaching virtually, in person but six feet apart, or maybe not at all.  

It was exhausting, depressing, stressful, and just generally sad.  We suffered, our families suffered, and of course, our students suffered. 

We are seeing significant gaps in student learning, behavior problems, not to mention social-emotional needs that are much greater than ever before.  

As we start to return to normal with over 70% of the workforce vaccinated—and as I write this we just hit one million children ages 5-11 vaccinated—we have an opportunity to make change. And we have to take it.  

During the past 19 months, we’ve been working to overcome the obstacles of the pandemic.  An unprecedented challenge.  In my district, we just announced that all virtual learning will come to an end and all students will return to school face to face for the first time since March of 2020.  

After a brief celebration of the return to “normal” came the realization that we can’t ever go back to “normal again.

Our new reality is that our students are in a different place, unlike any other group of students before them.  Going back to what we were doing before the pandemic won’t be good enough.  For these students and their families we need to be great—great curriculum, great delivery, high levels of engagement, and inclusive, all-encompassing environments for social-emotional needs. 

The truth is we can’t return to what we always did because the world and our students are forever changed. The door is open to make subtle and broad changes to better meet the needs of our post-pandemic students. Click To Tweet

You might be shaking your head, saying we don’t have time to change.  Change is hard.  I can’t handle one more thing.  

Instead of adding, we should be replacing.

Replacing skill and drill with high-level problem-solving.  Changing a paper to student choice on a project.  Changing mundane to project-based learning.  Changing from the science fair to The Amazing Shake.  Changing from isolation to a class system of social-emotional support for all students.  Changing from pull-out programs to push-in programs.  You get the idea.  

We’ve seen this before in other walks of life.  The “Space Race” with Russia forced education to double down on STEM before we called it STEM.  The Great Depression required outside-the-box thinking and gave us “The New Deal” that propelled us into prosperity.  A call for equality brought forth the Civil Rights Movement.  The pandemic allowed the science community around the world to collaborate at a level never seen before.  

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Post-Pandemic Education: Now it is our turn as educators to do the same.

The truth is we can’t return to what we always did because the world and our students are forever changed.  The door is open to make subtle and broad changes to better meet the needs of our post-pandemic students.  To prepare them for whatever comes next in an uncertain world and to be the leaders of tomorrow.  

The door is open, the opportunity is here now.  Will you take it?

About Aaron Else

Aaron Else is an enthusiastic optimist entering his 22nd year in education. During his time in education, he has taught 1st, 2nd, and 5th grades. He has worked in administration for the past 14 years with the last 8 as principal at Hosp Elementary in Frisco ISD.

Aaron is married to Heather, and they have five kids combined and two dogs. He loves to read, work out, and watch sports.