The school year – and therefore, our first foray into distance learning – is coming to a close for many of us teachers. Some of us have a few days left of the school year and some of us don’t mark the end of the year until late June. Although many of us don’t yet know if our distance learning journey will continue into next school year, it’s important to reflect on how far we’ve come with distance learning. No matter what distance learning has looked like for you, it’s been a learning experience.
We’ve Learned So Much as Educators with with Distance Learning
Through distance learning, we have learned to be resilient. We were in classrooms with our kids one day and then we had to switch everything we ever did the next – with little to no materials, preparation, or precedence.
Teachers have had to learn technology and platforms to teach our students. Many of us had never even recorded ourselves before distance learning. Some of us had never used an online platform. Many of us had never created a Google slide. Lots of teachers have gone from being tech novices to pros within just a few weeks.
We have had to teach families as well as our students and then rely on our students’ families (thank you!) to guide our kids when we aren’t there. This process built up so much anxiety for teachers. These students are ours! We’ve nurtured them, trained them, and loved them since they walked into our classrooms at the start of the school year. We have been their teachers and now our roles as educators have completely changed. This is a rough adjustment for everyone involved!
Learning How to Balance It All
Teachers, like so many others, have had to learn balance! We’ve had to learn how to not let teaching from home consume us. And we’ve had to learn how to balance teaching at home and being there for our own families at home.
Teachers have learned self-love – this one is a biggie! We’ve had to learn to put ourselves first at times. This is a new concept for most of us and one that may in all honesty be the hardest to accomplish.
Many of us teachers have felt invisible during this distance learning journey. But please remember – we see you! We see the veteran teachers! We see the newbies! You don’t need to have a Pinterest-worthy distance learning workspace to be a great teacher. You show up EVERY DAY for your kids and they are the only ones you should worry about.
Take What You’ve Learned and Be Ready to Apply It
With an ongoing pandemic, there’s no guarantee we’ll be back in classrooms next school year. We could end up on split schedules or fully remote again, and this is something we as teachers must prepare for. Luckily, we’ll have some experience this time instead of going into it blind.
As you reflect on all you have learned from the past few months of at-home learning, think about what worked and what didn’t. Then, think about how you can improve. Remember, just because something worked, that doesn’t mean you can’t still improve upon it and make it even better.
Because you’ll be starting next school year with all new students, focus on taking what you’ve learned about remote teaching and coming up with ways it can help you connect with and manage your new class. Are your communication methods the best? Do you need to change your preferred behavior management system? What can you do to make sure your students know you care and are there for them during this time?
Be prepared to modify and adjust your plans as time passes and you learn more about remote teaching and your students. If the past few months have taught us anything, it’s that teachers are able to handle anything life throws at us.
Read More Teacher Tips for Distance Learning:
- Teacher Tips for Distance Learning: Week 1
- Teacher Tips for Distance Learning: Week 2
- Teacher Tips for Distance Learning: Week 3
- Teacher Tips for Distance Learning: Week 4
- Teacher Tips for Distance Learning: Week 5
- Teacher Tips for Distance Learning: Week 6
- Teacher Tips for Distance Learning: Week 7
By Cindy Price
Cindy Price is a veteran teacher of 26 years. She has taught kindergarten for 19 years and first grade for seven years. She was born and raised in Massachusetts, but has taught in Florida, Georgia, and now Delaware.