Two Tips For Teaching This Fall

I get asked “What are your tips for teachers thinking about remote teaching now and into the fall” pretty often. I’ve responded in different ways and have heard some other great responses, too! But here are two perspectives I’d like us all to consider. 

I hear a lot about people saying teachers need to have grace with our kids now. Let’s relax and lower expectations for our kids because we don’t have any idea what their home life is like. I agree and think this is totally on point right now. But that means teachers need to think about the kids coming to them this fall. They will be the first group of kids to have ever gone through PANDEMIC CLOSURES FOR SCHOOL. They will have missed a third of their school year! And they won’t be the same kids as the kids you usually get every year. Next year’s classes will be brand new classes. Remember this: These are not the same kids and you ARE NOT teaching the same material. Don’t take those kids who are in Algebra 1 now, walking into Algebra 2 next year and think they’re going to be prepared to take your old version of Algebra 2. They’re not. Change your curriculum. Change your approach. You’ve got a whole new world to build. I’ll help you build if you want. But we’ve got to recognize that next year our new kids can’t be treated the same as in past years just because it’s September.

The second thing I want to point out is this. I’ve seen amazing posts from teachers during all this. I see bitmoji classrooms, virtual choirs, and creative solutions to difficult problems. But hear this. A LOT of other teachers see these same things… and HATE them. Every time they see a post about things like this their stomachs turn. It’s not jealousy. It’s not actually hatred. But it may be because these posts make them feel inferior or feel like they’re not as good at their job or are less professional than those teachers who are doing them. Don’t stop posting these because we need positivity, we need creativity, and we need success stories! But, we also need to realize that a lot of teachers are feeling their identity as professionals being slapped in the face during this time. They’re unsure of themselves. They’re not sure what it’s going to be like when they go back and what people’s expectations of them are going to be. Let’s be open to understanding and considering that, thinking about those perspectives of teachers. They’re coming back into school not exactly sure who they are as a teacher anymore and not exactly sure what people expect from them and totally unsure of what the new standard for “Distinguished Teaching” is. It’s going to be powerful for us as leaders, teachers and everyone who enters a school to recognize that we are all walking into our buildings, hopefully, as CHANGED PEOPLE and each of us needs to go get to know those new people for who they are now and to go work with those people to build a new situation and a new culture at our schools, for our kids and for the future of education.

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