Hindsight in 2020, Foresight for 2021

By NSEA President Jenni Benson

As 2019 came to a close, I don’t believe anyone saw the chaos of 2020 coming. Pandemic, economic uncertainty, political division – I think we all took it as it came and made decisions as best we could based on the information at hand at the time.

With the benefit of the information that comes with, appropriately, 20-20 hindsight, we can all see that in many cases we could have made better decisions. Such judgment comes easily when reflecting on past experiences and actions after the fact.

As we enter 2021, we stop to reflect on our experiences and those decisions made in 2020. We have learned a great deal and your insight is invaluable as we move forward.

Foresight in Treatment

Over the past couple of months, I have been evaluating quite a bit, both personally and professionally. I do not make decisions in isolation or autocratically. I carefully research, consult, discuss and survey others before making a shared decision. I listen to experts and weigh the options carefully. The information gathered with hindsight, knowledge and expertise then contributes to insight and foresight as we move forward.

My husband, Mike, has a major blockage in the basal artery leading to his brain which resulted in several ischemic strokes the week before Thanksgiving. The holidays took on a new meaning as we navigated our new challenges. Hindsight would suggest there were signs we didn’t notice ahead of the strokes.

On Dec. 30, my brother, Jim, died unexpectedly. He was 59 and had battled health challenges for years. Grief is packed full of hindsight and memories.

If those challenges weren’t enough, as I write this, Mike has been hospitalized for five days with a chronic infection. Hindsight regarding issues with his infection are all over the internet. Hindsight won’t help, but foresight in treatment will.

The Most Important Voice

The pandemic of 2020 delivered many cases of hindsight expertise: should have, could have, would have. History was being made as the playbook was being written. NSEA locals and our members were vital in making pandemic-related decisions in their school districts across the state.

It was not much different from the influenza pandemic of 1918. As with the current pandemic, educators in 1918 gave vital service in that instance, as cited in the predecessor to The Voice magazine, The Nebraska Teacher (see box).

Teachers continue to give vital service today, and on their behalf, NSEA continues to advocate and represent as the legislature begins to hit full stride. There are already dozens of bills we know will affect our students, educators, schools and communities across Nebraska, and we are watching and working to influence each of them.

We know from experience your voice is the most important voice. We need you to help educate the public and our elected officials. You have the insight and foresight to make change happen.

Find contact information for your senator by visiting NSEA’s Action Center at nsea.org.

And with foresight, together, we can make 2021 a great year for public education!