I think that over the past two months there has been so much focus on the negative situations and events regarding schools transitioning to remote learning that we need to start realizing that some really good things came from it too.
Yes, there have been several things taken away from us as teachers and our students that can only take place in a traditional school. These things include field trips, field days, graduation, simply seeing a student “get it,” face-to-face communication, hugs, proms, and the list can go on and on. I think though, that there have been some positives that have come out of this situation that we should definitely remember.
As teachers we have always put our students’ well being first, but I think that remote learning has made even us go above and beyond what we were doing before. We have had to deeply consider our students home lives and how it affects their learning. We’ve had to consider variables and whether they’re able to partake at all in remote learning. And even though we also provide paper packets, not every student is able to complete that form of work either at no fault of their own. We also have to consider their parents lives and whether they’re able to help their child learn at home. Most parents work jobs or are single parents and it isn’t possible to get everything their child needs to get done at home done. I think we really need to consider going into the future that we will always have some students that will be unable to participate in any remote learning. With that being said, I think that a lot of GRACE and COMPASSION is going around in the education community and we need to continue that same grace when we return to our traditional classrooms.
This leads to more emphasis on social emotional learning as well. SEL is a topic that I’m still learning about and would like to learn more about. I think the development in the interest of the topic is directly related to the COVID school closures. After all, our students will not be successful if we do not make sure the WHOLE child is taken care of.
There has also been an emphasis on self care for everyone. Teachers have been encouraged to not try to do too much or push themselves too hard. We all know we are guilty of doing that regardless if the learning is traditional or remote. We as teachers need to learn to slow down. As the saying goes, you can’t pour from an empty cup. As much as we want to and do take care of our students, we have to take care of ourselves first to be the best teacher we can be for them.
In my experience, some students THRIVE in this online environment. Some students that were shy in the classroom are in their element during this time. I’ve even had students who have taken up coding and have taught me some things. I think we really need to realize how important student choice is. Yes, we always do our best to give students choices in their learning, but I think this has been very eye opening that we need to try to give them even more choice to pursue their interests when we return to the school buildings. So much authentic learning can take place in an online environment with research and pursuing interests. I think it’d be a shame not to put more of that into place in our classrooms in the future.
Even though face-to-face communication isn’t taking place, there is still communication going on. Messages, phone calls, etc. is all happening with students and parents. I really think it’s helped us realize that parents and teachers really are a TEAM in our students learning.
I also think people have somewhat realized how much teachers do. I’m not saying this because I am a teacher. Remember, I never planned to be a teacher, so when I became one, I quickly realized that teachers do far more than I ever realized. This is for my fellow teachers who are rockstars! I am loving all the praise that they are receiving from the public. I hope this continues and we continue to emphasize just how important teachers are.
I’m sure there are more positives I could think of that has come from this unfortunate situation we are in, but these are off the top of my head. I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe!