How To Be an Educator During a Pandemic: An Opinion Piece
This piece was written by Brittany Wilson, an Atlanta area teacher working during the pandemic.
I’m back to talk to you about what I believe are solutions in order to not only help teachers out during this difficult time, but also to ensure students—along with their parents—are getting what they need, no matter if learning is virtual or face-to-face. Read my “Part One” article to hear what I have to say about what a crazy time it is in the educational world during this pandemic.
To make this easier, I’m going to break these points into groups.
What teachers need to be successful when teaching digital and face-to-face…
Administration and the school’s county representatives play a huge role in how supported and satisfied teachers feel. If teachers do not believe they are being supported from the top, then there is a problem. Teachers cannot do their best when there is a negative culture in the building.
Some things that need to be worked on in order to support teachers are:
- Lots of positivity
- More transparency
- Create a safe environment
- Better communication
- Create a culture of trust
- Support, support, support!
- Offer up supplies
- Team building activities
- Much needed technology support
- Provide resources for digital learning—this is new for most!
- Allow brain breaks and mental health days
- Check in on each teacher individually
- Recognize hard work
- Give thoughtful incentives
What students need to be successful when learning during the pandemic…
In the first article, I referred to students in Special Education, as these are the students that are suffering educationally the most during this time; however, both Gen Ed and SPED students need lots of support right now in order to be academically, emotionally, and behaviorally successful.
Examples of these are:
- Brain breaks
- Easy-to-follow schedules
- Individualized instruction
- Therapeutic supports
- Engaging lessons
- Social/Emotional Learning (SEL)
- Introduction to new technology
- One-on-one time with the teacher
- Behavior interventions
What parents need to be successful while their child is learning from home or back at school…
Lastly, we need to think about the parents of these students as well. Parents have it hard right now; many are juggling work from home while children learn alongside them, some are struggling to make a living in the poor economy, while others need their children in school yet are worried about their safety.
These are examples of supports parents need during this time:
- Behavioral support for child
- Academic support for child
- Social/emotional support for child
- A strong support system
- Teachers who communicate well and are organized
- Teachers who keep their child engaged in lessons
- A much needed break
- A school counselor/social worker checking in on the family
- A principal/teacher who also checks in with the family
- A clear explanation of the curriculum and what is expected
- A list of accommodations to provide at home (if working digitally)
- Recommendations from teacher on how parent can help
- A list of things to get that may help SPED students (Bouncy Bands, fidgets, timers, visual schedules, velcro, music, etc.)
- Regular contact, progress reports, and shout outs
Everyone involved in this has different needs. Even though there are at least three separate parts to the equation—the teacher, the student, and the parent—these parts work together to create the educational environment. If one is off, there may be a lack of success in an area. The three need to work together, especially during this difficult time in order to create a successful school year for the student.
Being an educator during this pandemic has been frustrating and exhausting; but I do it for my students. Let’s all support our teachers, students, and parents during this time!