As word of school closures took off, we heard about homeschooling, digital learning, families needing food, and a host of other topics. We didn’t spend as much time thinking about teaching during COVID. Here, Possip team member and former teacher Hannah Hall shares some of her wisdom and learning.
How Teachers Feel
Anxious, confused, unsettled, scared – these emotions are felt deeply across the globe right now. While there’s certainly comfort in knowing we’re not alone in our feelings, does it make them go away? Not really. I live with three of the most talented, hard-working, and dedicated teachers in Tennessee. Together, they are changing the trajectory of students’ lives in Nashville.
Right now, however, they’re together in their anxiety, confusion, unsettledness, and fear. What does this mean for students moving to the next grade level? How will we serve the needs of our students with special needs? Will our parents have the means to sustain this kind of learning – will we? Are we just widening the achievement gap even more? These questions are common and, I imagine, resonate with educators not just in Nashville, but across the country.
So What’s Next?
So what happens now with teaching during COVID? As schools are set to resume from Spring Break, what does a new normal look like for classroom teachers? I think what we’re finding is that right now, we don’t have the answer to that question, and that has to be okay. I am confident that my three roommates will eventually work out the kinks in distance learning, they’ll find creative ways to meet the needs of their diverse students, and they’ll get through this year as better teachers. But I’m also pretty confident that this will take time, it won’t be smooth at first, and they’ll make some mistakes along the way. And again, that has to be okay!
For now though, as schools resume from break and we’re all figuring out the unknown together, I think it’s important we hold fast to a few beliefs.
1. This too shall pass.
My grandmother, Babu, used to tell me that when I was a kid and I had a bad day. 20 years later, I think we all need to take a breath and remember that Babu always knew best.
2. Patience, it’s still a virtue.
We’re all going through a global pandemic together. Have grace and patience for your team, your admin, and most importantly – yourself! No one learns to teach in a day (my whole first year was a hot mess!), so we can’t expect each other to figure out distance learning in a day either.
3. Channel Gabby Douglass, be flexible.
We may not see an Olympic Games this year, but that doesn’t mean we can’t aspire for Olympic-like attributes. Be flexible! As difficult as it may be, try not to get too bogged down by the things not in your control.
4. From Pain Comes Beauty.
What if we see this as a time to change mindsets about education?
As teachers, you have the power to show parents how to turn everyday activities into learning opportunities.
- What if the COVID-19 outbreak was a time when more people saw that you didn’t need a computer program, textbook, or workbook to educate?
- Lead your families in finding relevant, non-fiction texts and prompt them with questions they can ask at the dinner table.
- Send news articles to compare and contrast points of view.
We’re living through history, let’s make the most of it!
And if you want to learn more about how you can engage with your parents through Possip, learn more here: https://possip.com/using-possip-during-school-closures/