Mid-March 2020 marked the beginning of remote learning for educators across the nation. Teachers and students were abruptly transitioned into another form of differentiated learning but from a distance. Initially, many saw this as an opportunity for parents to gain insight into how their children learn and behave while in school. Others saw it as a chance for parents to get a small glimpse into a day in the life of a teacher. It seemed as though it was a time of “payback” for parents and a moment of newfound appreciation for teachers. In many states, school closures are indefinite for this year. With this unexpected turn of events, what began, as a minor celebration for some teachers has now become a heartbreaking reality.
One teacher’s thoughts of remote learning were indifferent. She thought it would not last long and welcomed the change because it allotted more time for planning assignments and grading. However, with the extension, she finds it difficult to adjust to virtual classroom management. She went on to say, “Remote learning makes things hard to manage at times and it just isn’t the way I like to teach. It creates a sense of impersonality.”
A veteran teacher had a different take on remote learning. This teacher stated that they did not know how things were going to work out with this form of instruction with the population of students she works with, but surprisingly things have worked out in everyone’s favor. She went on to say that, she likes working from home because of the minimal behavior issues teachers deal with daily and is considering transitioning to online teaching full-time.
A second-year teacher stated that he feels uncharacteristically unmotivated during this time of remote learning. “The kids who benefit the most from structure and support in the building are often the kids who are least likely to benefit from online learning. Whether they are completing work for the sake of a grade or not signing on at all because they feel it is not a valuable use of time, many kids will miss out on critical learning time.”
Teaching, planning, meeting, grading, and in many cases, teacher-parenting from home has its difficulties, but here are a few things everyone should keep in mind to maintain balance and productivity.
Things to Remember
For Parents: Patience is key. Be patient with yourself, children, and teachers.
Do not feel guilty about what you do not know or what you cannot help your child with.
Be patient with your scholar. Take this time to bond with them through the work that is given. If you do not understand it, contact the teacher, and await guidance. Until you get a response about a particular assignment, move on to a content area where you thrive and see this as an opportunity to refresh or extend your learning.
Have patience with your child’s teachers. Understand that this is an adjustment for them, and they do not have all the answers to your questions or issues right away. They are doing the best they can with the circumstances they were given.
Students: Trust this process and use this way of learning as a way of growing your skills. Also, take this time to reflect on the value of education and the beauty of interacting and building relationships with your teachers; they miss you too.
Be patient with yourself and communicate with your teachers as much as possible. If your home environment is not conducive for learning or if you have additional, responsibilities while home do not be afraid or ashamed to let your teachers know. Hopefully, they will be flexible and understanding and make other adjustments for you to complete assignments.
Teachers: Use this time to hone in on creating differentiated lessons for all types of learners. Choose to see this time as a way to improve your instruction from a different aspect.
Be sure the workload you are providing is manageable for students with working parents, and that it is a reflective continuum of what students were learning in the classroom before remote learning began. Be realistic and reasonable with planning.
Be patient with yourself and give yourself more credit than you are during this time. You cannot bare the burden of the lack of resources your students do not have at home, but you can continue working diligently to ensure you are doing your job with integrity as you did when you were in the classroom.
The current state of educating students is in a very fragile place, and everyone has rearranged their lives to adjust in some way to meet varying needs. Now more than ever, parents, teachers, students, and administrators must come together to ensure we are all on the same page and doing what is best for everyone involved. More importantly, everyone must remember that this, too, shall pass, and patience is definitely a virtue.