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What Teachers Have Learned Post-Pandemic

Friday, April 14, 2023

Daily Planners at House of Doolittle

It is impossible to list the many ways the COVID-19 pandemic changed our lives. We have reevaluated public health, personal health, workplace environments, and social connections. While the last few years have been a challenging time for everyone, it has acutely affected our education system.  

What were bustling classrooms one day were empty the next. The long months of quarantine ushered in isolation, quickly revealing the gaps that an emergency of this magnitude could disclose. Teaching methods and technology had to be rapidly adapted to the new landscape, and there are no better examples of the finest individuals to accept these challenges than teachers. They rolled up their sleeves, opened their academic planner calendars, and got to work.  

Teachers are also learners. Let's look at some lessons teachers embraced during this difficult period and laud their efforts to help our students continue their education. Below are some key findings teachers have learned post-COVID-19 pandemic:     

The importance of flexibility. Because they work with children, teachers already knew the value of flexibility because things rarely go smoothly during a school day. Teachers made an additional effort to be flexible in their approach because a global pandemic was uncharted territory. They knew the normal they were used to would not return to that normal for an awfully long time, if at all.  

The importance of technologyThe pandemic highlighted the critical need for technology applied to their teaching methods and their communication. The quarantine dictated that lessons had to be delivered online; therefore, teachers had to learn to use new tools and platforms quickly. They tried to make this transition as seamless as possible, but with any new strategy, some issues had to be addressed for online teaching to succeed. While teachers were prepared to utilize available technology, its limitations were revealed in stark relief by students who did not have the means to adapt.  

The importance of communication. Looking back, everyday teachers had the luxury of pointing out the physical desk calendars and daily planners to the students in their classrooms. Reminders were no longer visual; therefore, teachers had to rapidly adapt their communication methods with their students and their families to avoid missing vital information. Effective communication between all parties is essential to relay information about assignments, quizzes, tests, and projects. Ensuring every child got what they needed became much more critical.  

The importance of mental health. Aspects of mental health are often tossed about in conversation, but the pandemic brought these discussions to a new level. Everyone- from students to teachers to school staff- deeply felt the emotional effects of the pandemic. People experienced fear, grief, loneliness, and uncertainty. What had always been a given, that is, normal days spent in a classroom, suddenly turned everyone’s world upside down. Teachers have long been a safe support system for their students, but that relationship was greatly diminished during the pandemic. In addition, teachers experienced their own troubling emotions and had to find tools and resources to help them cope. Teachers have had to learn that their mental health and well-being were just as much a priority as that of their students.   

The importance of a sense of humor. There is a reason for the old saying about laughter being the best medicine. Laughter can lighten moods and diffuse negative feelings. No one, especially teachers, cast aside the gravity of the COVID-19 pandemic. Lives were irrevocably changed. Teachers became even more aware of the value of humor and laughter with their students. When you are with children, no one can be serious 100% of the time. They give all of us a reason to laugh and see the joy in the world. During this time of online teaching, teachers found more ways to use the humor and laughter of their students as a balm for an educational system adapting to a pandemic. The importance of resilience. You must learn to bounce back after setbacks, challenges, and defeats. It took enormous strength and resilience for teachers to adapt to new teaching methods while offering their students exemplary support through a challenging time. This resilience allowed teachers to plow through the obstacles so that students could receive the best education possible during an uncertain period of their lives. The COVID-19 pandemic created a massive upheaval within the entire educational system. However, teachers proved they were the heroes during a frightening and unpredictable time in their students' lives. They are masters of organization, adaptability, and resilience, and this became evident as classrooms shifted to online and teaching methods had to be modified to accommodate such changes.  

Armed with their academic calendar planners and a well-honed sense of purpose, teachers forged ahead with their task of educating children. The lessons they have learned and shared will likely shape the future of education for many years to come.