Author(s): Giambattista Bufalino
The COVID-19 pandemic is having an unprecedented impact on our world. The modern crisis has become even more complex. It is not spatially confined by common boundaries, and there is no “playbook” for leadership when the stakes are high. There are no easy answers in time like this. Also, fake news and misinformation about COVID-19 has spread widely across social media. Remember what the Italian philosopher Antonio Gramsci says: “The crisis consists precisely in the fact that the old is dying and the new cannot be born; in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear.” Crises have never been easy to manage. Organizational chaos, media pressure, stress, and incorrect information are just a few factors that make it very difficult for leaders to make sound decisions. This is particularly true for many educators, school leaders, teachers and families who have had to make a rapid, unplanned transition to remote (or distance) learning. With students dispersed, schools and our society must confront long-simmering inequities and well-being more than ever before. We are working in an extremely vulnerable time. It is a time when we need to put leadership at the center of our discourse. We need inspirational, charismatic, and transformational leaders who can act as artists, renew old ways of doing things, act and create new challenges in schools. If the strength of each leader is to inspire, create, strengthen, and encourage, how will they guide the course of change in all of this? What is their role in this time of change? There are many important lessons to be learned from the present situation by school leaders, teachers, educators and researchers. So far, here are some of my own takeaways.