Good Will Hunting is a rather cool movie about the impact one teacher can have on young people at risk. Towards the end, there’s an iconic scene that anyone who has seen the movie will remember.
It’s become known as the “It’s not your fault scene”
In it, Sean (played by Robin Williams) speaks to Will (Matt Damon) about the abuse he experienced as a child and ten times says “It’s not your fault”. That’s how many times it took for Will to absorb the meaning behind the words. Ten.
This may seem a little corny right now, but bear with me.
Educators didn’t choose the interruption that they are enduring and the uncertainty surrounding each state’s plan for return. This Coronavirus thing. You didn’t choose it. It’s not your fault.
If you’ve run a dodgy online session, it’s not your fault.
If you’re a Principal and you don’t know what to say when a Teacher suggests they’re medically at risk, that’s not your fault.
If you’re a parent and you really can’t make sense of the media malaise about Covid-19, leaving you with no idea of whether you should even send your kid to school or not, it’s not your fault.
If you’re a bit pissed off at being compelled to report on student progress during across remote learning … somehow … it’s not your fault.
If you’re secretly feeling a little guilty about enjoying the absence of behaviour problems in your class during the online learning period, then that’s not your fault either.
If you’ve checked your Facebook account or just mentally made a little trip to Fiji in your sixth Zoom/Webex/Hangout/whatever of the day, it’s not your fault.
If you’re a Graduate Teacher who is secretly petrified about “that Year 9 class” coming back to school, it’s not your fault.
If you’ve sworn inappropriately at the television over one more contradictory or thoroughly uninformed brain fart by a politician re school closures/returns, it’s definitely not your fault.
And if you’ve wondered if Term 2 will ever end, then it’s not your fault.
There you have it. Just like Robin Williams, that’s ten times. I hope it’s sunk in.
Blame and self-judgment are going to rob you of any chance to learn and plan in these uncertain times … when your capacity for learning and planning is so critical. This is nobody’s fault, least of all the people around you.
Preferring instead to focus on acceptance and a spirit of adventure will more likely get you through.