The spring 2020 has been exceptional in many ways due the COVID- 19 pandemic that changed all areas of our lives globally. Probably one of the fields facing most changes and challenges was education and how to ensure its continuous delivery.
Schools had to rapidly switch to distance teaching and find new ways to teach and keep connected with the students. As a SEL tool for schools, we have been in the middle of the process of switching to distance learning. We wanted to share our observations from the past semester on what went extremely well and what was most challenging for teachers. We hope this post will give you something to relate to and show you that you have not been the only one facing difficulties.
What was challenging:
- How to find the best possible way and platform for remote learning?
As the switch to remote learning was super quick, the time given to find the best platforms for remote learning was limited. The devices students used for learning were not always the best match with the platforms the teacher wanted to use and this caused problems.
- How to keep in contact with students and their parents?
Situations in different families vary a lot and some families faced huge difficulties when everyone was suddenly at home all day. Many teachers said that the most harrowing part of switching to remote teaching has been to lose contact with some students and their parents. Often the ones that were hard to keep in touch with were the ones already having problems before the pandemic. If you as a teacher felt powerless trying to keep connection with all your students, you were not alone.
- How to plan the lessons and manage time?
A lot of teachers we have talked with have said that they have been extremely tired and exhausted because they have basically been constantly working. Lesson planning takes a lot more time when you have to think how the exercises will work remotely and how the students manage them from home.
What went especially well:
- Flexibility: focusing on the student wellbeing and lowering the academic demands
Teachers and educators we have talked with have focused more on how the students are coping rather than what kind of grades they have gotten. This did not mean the academics did not matter, but the focus at this point had to be in the wellbeing of the students and the teachers understood that no learning will happen if the students are not coping well.
- Togetherness: asking for help and saying out loud when something is challenging
It has been amazing to see how teachers have been asking help from each other and shared good educational resources, tips or ideas. Togetherness and helping each other has been strong. Also being vulnerable and saying out loud, when you have been way too tired to work effectively or when something has been difficult, shows both that you have understood that difficult times have to be faced together but also that you trust in each other.
- Persistence: despite the challenges, there was no giving up
The workload suddenly became enormous when the switch to remote teaching suddenly happened. Despite the challenges, difficulties, tiredness, fear of the pandemic and frustration, there were no signs of giving up. Even when some days were really hard, the next day you were there for your students and kept them on track with their studies and encouraged them through the challenging times.
We hope you found all these helpful. If you can share of your experiences with settling into the changing routines for in-class and distance learning, we would love to here. Send us your experiences to firstname.lastname@example.org If you are happy to share your story with others, we would love to publish them in our channels.
Read also an earlier Mightifier blog post on how to prepare yourself for the semester. LINK