What Pandemic Teaching Taught Us
These last few years have been a wild ride. When the pandemic slammed everything shut, everyone had to learn a new way of life. Schools shut down, and teachers reinvented the wheel, teaching from behind computers and spending countless hours trying to reach their students in new ways.
Over the two school years that followed, the education system adapted to a new normal. Masking, social distancing, remote learning, staggered days, and quarantines broke through the tough skin of decades-long classroom practices. It was a lot, to say the very least. Too much for some, as we watched teacher after teacher pack up their classrooms for good.
But as we emerge ever-so-cautiously from this strange, dark, sometimes hopeless-feeling cloud that has hung over us and take a few deep breaths, it’s worth looking back to see what we’ve learned. To process it a bit. As we teach our students, the best life lessons can come from the most challenging of circumstances, and that’s the silver lining we should desperately cling to in order to move forward.
Not surprisingly, many teachers learned that they are, indeed, still lifelong learners. We had to self-teach all kinds of things. YouTube became our new virtual college and source of professional development. I watched, amazed, as many old dogs learned new tricks in technology, instruction, and even in giving themselves grace.
You can carry this lesson forward each school year, being self-aware and making a plan to improve every year you teach.
As you head into the summer, reflect on areas of needed growth in your classroom. Where are you struggling? Organization, classroom management, grading? The great thing about online learning is that it is customized to your individual needs. (I mean, how many of us have had to sit through hours of required PD that did not apply to our classroom at all?) Plus, you can squeeze it in wherever it fits into your life: reorganizing your kitchen junk drawer, sitting by the pool, or on a road trip to see family.
Free Summer Training For Teachers:
- Teach a Man to Fish Learning Channel – webinars on the growth mindset, appreciative inquiry, effective questioning, etc. Each webinar lasts approximately one hour. Bonus: The speakers have lovely British accents, so you’ll feel fancy while you learn.
- Cult of Pedagogy channel – brief (5-20 mins), helpful videos on a range of topics for quick fixes in your classroom: learn the “five-second solution,” teach inductive reasoning, learn what to do with students who rush through their work or how to speed up slow workers. Lots of helpful nuggets of information!
- Mastering Your Morning Routine (49 mins) – This seasoned teacher offers practical advice for preparing for your school year as well as establishing a morning routine for your classroom. She also shares some of her free resources on TPT.
- Top Grading Hacks for Teachers (21 mins) – Thirteen hacks to enhance your grading experience, including information on using Google Forms.
- Online Professional Development – This site has compiled a solid list of podcasts and professional development programs, many of which offer CEUs for free or at a reasonable cost. (Don’t be afraid to ask your administration for the cash to cover something you’re really interested in!)
So after you take what is hopefully an initial substantial break from anything school-related, check out the options above and boost your confidence for the next school year.
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