Teaching through a Pandemic: A Mindset for this Moment

The thought ended almost before it started: “This is too overwhelming.” The teacher could only type before suddenly stopping, perhaps annoyed by the sheer size of the problem. In the brief pause that followed, every teacher no doubt focused on unraveling clues — about the dizzying, rapidly escalating virus crisis that is closing schools across the country, recognizing the chasm they all face, and taking a deep breath.

Over the next few hours, more than 500 teachers took to Facebook in two conversations about teaching during the coronavirus pandemic, expressing their concerns and fears: What will we do when schools are closed for a few months? How can I switch to online learning if we close tomorrow or even in a few hours? How to care for students with special needs and how to manage the IEP? What about kids who don’t have access to the Internet, or, as Keith Schoch thoughtfully commented, who must “be the de facto nanny”? for their siblings. “There is no digital divide, but there is a digital abyss, and the poor in rural America live at the bottom of it,” Anne Larson said in a pointed tone. What if the school system finally decides that online learning is working well and will never be open again?

Panic is completely understandable.

But many of those teachers had weeks of crisis experience at the time — some in Hong Kong, Italy, and Washington state, for example — and some had long careers in online and distance learning. Finally, there are a lot of great, creative teachers who offer strategies as soon as they hit a roadblock.

Rethinking is needed at the top—even the most optimistic educators admit it. 

Looking Forward to Testing

Start reasoning with yourself. It is impossible to switch to distance learning overnight without a lot of trial and error. Expect it, plan for it, and do everything you can to make peace with it.

“I can tell you, now in week 7 of online learning, we’re going to be trial-and-error about a lot of things you have to do,” wrote Stacy Rausch Keevan, who teaches in Hong Kong. “Don’t stress about it – it doesn’t do you anything. Benefit. For my middle school English and Humanities classes, I offer the same classes I would normally do on-site, but in smaller doses.”

Know the Extraordinary

Reset your baseline. We all operate in the shadow of a bewildering and limiting global pandemic. Business as usual is not realistic.

The real “point to consider” is not “strict adherence to” the normal “terms and specifications,” Amy Rheault-Heafield wrote in response to a question about how distance learning should be structured like a more typical learning experience, “but how to provide Enriching the experience of all now no “traditional” teachers helping their learners in the classroom.”

So while you should try to offer “meaningful activities,” warns primary school teacher John Thomas, “we should remember that we won’t be able to solve all problems in the short term – and because many of us are using these tools are limited. “In other words, we should give ourselves the time and authority to discover. 

Reduce workload (for yourself and your students)

You should plan to do less if your school district allows it. Students aren’t going to be that productive anyway – so if you can’t downsize, give them work they can’t – your own life and family need extra care.

“The feedback from students and families in Italy over the past 10 days has been ‘less is more,” commented Jo Gillespie. “Keep in mind that parents are trying to work from home while siblings are competing for computer and WiFi time. Try Google quizzes, including sheets, reading logs, some short live meetings with teachers and classmates, maybe vocabulary building, math, and geometry issues (but not too much). That might be enough.”

Keevan, a Hong Kong teacher with several weeks of experience, confirms that time and distance play an interesting game in a crisis: “Usually it can take twice as long to teach a class in a classroom.”

No one is isolated

Humans are social animals. Working from home, or worse, quarantine is isolating and often frustrating for teachers and students.

Make a concerted effort to speak to other colleagues and trusted professionals to provide emotional and psychological context for your work. Teaching is very difficult at the moment and you need people from virtual companies to experience who you are.

And don’t forget to “stay in touch with as many students as possible,” says Keevan, who teaches on-site despite the (somewhat uncomfortable!) 13-hour jet lag. Alternatively, you can facilitate peer-to-peer communication. John Thomas assigned pen pals among the first and second graders, so kids without the internet felt like they belonged.

Everyone Thinks They Can’t Before They Do

A certain level of pessimism and self-doubt is part of the field. The teacher in the Facebook post suggests empathy and a little patience with yourself: you know how to teach, and you’ll find out in time.

“We are in week 7 and I have three children of my own at home,” wrote Salecia Host, a teacher in Tianjin, China, reflecting her emotional response to the crisis. “Just let it go day by day. It becomes less overwhelming and more routine.”

Try to stay calm, though you’ll have a few minutes outside the window, and keep your distance: “Open-mindedness and flexibility are key,” said Kaz Wilson, who also works in China. “Everyone thinks you can’t do it unless you stop and talk to those who do and know you can.”

Note the Gap

Your job will be tough, but some students face bigger challenges. Students without internet or computers will need support, as will students with learning disabilities or other conditions that make distance learning particularly difficult. Almost everyone has thought about supporting these students. It’s appeared dozens of times in the Facebook thread.

Solutions for our teacher audience focus on old simulation methods: paper and pencil assignments, workbooks and activity packs that can be mailed home, and daily updates that parents and students get over the phone.

About the article

During the crisis we face, the well-being of students in online learning is taken seriously. Attention has been paid to how schools can help parents stay sane by supporting their children’s learning.

But with all the challenges facing stakeholders, the education sector is also facing the well-being of teachers, who are grappling with all the changes in their daily lives since online learning began, even amid this pandemic. In this article, we’ve discussed the mindset of teachers, as well as students, built up in this pandemic and the problems being faced through this time. n

Bill westermen

Digital Entrepreneur, Website Builder, SEO Consultant and Professional. I have 12 years experience in Digital Marketing, And this is the future of Business

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