It’s easy to say that in a time of pandemic, nothing is certain in education any more. No one even knows if we can get all the nation’s students back in school. But in the time of chaos and uncertainty, there are still a few touchstones that we know we can count on.
This won’t change: Building relationships with students
Relationship building is still a top priority. It’s been happening all along and will still be happening, even as we find new ways to connect, communicate, and educate. It may be tempting to think that it’s too complicated, but there are some very simple principles at its heart.
Just showing up with a bit of enthusiasm goes a long way. Teachers are human, and at the beginning of any random school day, we’re powering up for school with a lot of things on our mind, and only some of them are school-related. When we leave those things (more or less) at the metaphorical door and shift our focus to the children we’re here for, giving them the best we have to offer that day, when we engage and listen, we are building relationships. Whether it’s on the video screen or in person, in the midst of calm or chaos, we’re there for them and with them. And that counts for quite a bit.
2. One-on-one time
Spending time with individual students, even if it’s just a few minutes here and there, is especially important early in the semester. This way a teacher finds out who is likely to struggle and who is doing well.
3. High expectations
With all the changes due to the pandemic, it’s easy to go in thinking that students or teachers won’t have to accomplish goals, maintain high standards, or learn certain things well. But it’s important to let students know from the beginning that a lot will be expected from them, maybe even more than if the pandemic had never happened.
This won’t change: Content (although style should keep evolving)
The pandemic caused a lot of people to chuck the idea of teaching new content, and to simply review previously learned content. The same amount of content must be taught and learned.
However, we are moving away from an old style of education to a more interactive and engaging style. That should continue, otherwise students will check out or simply not engage.
We’re headed into more change than any of us have seen in education during our lifetimes, and it’s all happening very quickly. Many veteran teachers will feel like first year teachers this fall.
1. Instructional coaches can be a helpful resource
Instructional coaches and teams like Constructive Learning Design can help teachers make the shift to blended or virtual learning. We also create learning plans that improve systems for learning. We’re here to listen, help troubleshoot, and solve problems for teachers, students, and staff.
2. Create an environment of trust
It’s important that administration trusts teachers to do the work they need to do without over-monitoring or creating a heavy structure of requirements for proving that they are working.
A new school year is only days or weeks away…
How are you coping with the changes? Leave us a comment below and share your story.