In today’s world, being a teacher is an incredible challenge. Beyond the day of teaching, you as teachers are faced with students with behavioral or family issues, learning disabilities, and more. With respect to you as teachers, you continue to be “special” and you, somehow, know and allow yourself to challenge and motivate the children you serve.
No matter what form school takes place as we reach March 2021, you are faced with the issue of how you can help children recover and to stay on track throughout the year. As you are aware, in 2020, the academic role has left many children falling behind especially in reading (losing 3 months’ worth of gains) and math (losing 5 months’ worth of gains). To make matters worse, accommodations for the special education were impacted greatly along with you as a teacher, too!
Advocates believe about 3 million students likely have had no education since March 2020 who are homeless, in foster care, have disabilities or are learning English — appear to not be in school at all. Children and their parents have increasingly experienced depression, anxiety and trauma during the pandemic. The emergency rooms have seen a 24% increase in mental health-related visits from children ages 5 to 11 compared to last year. Food banks have been slammed with hungry families for an estimated 17 million children. Classrooms have been unusually empty, with quarantines and sickness affecting attendance in face-to-face schools and computer issues interfering with online instruction. Some districts reported that the number of students who’ve missed at least 10 percent of classes, which studies show could lead to devastating lifelong consequences, has doubled.
Children are frustrated.
So, you as teachers as well as being frustrated will need to be very methodical about checking in on your students—not just academically but also emotionally. You are important to the children to act as a powerful buffer against the adverse effects of trauma (fear and anxiety about the pandemic along with uncertainty) by helping to establish a safe and supportive environment for learning. You may have to come up with a different kind of strategy of instruction by giving them choices, connecting the curriculum to their interests, and providing them multiple opportunities to demonstrate their learning.
I have no answers of how you are going to do the teaching because we all are in the same boat! I only can encourage you in the creative work and experiences you have for the children. I had a professor who once said: “there is an end to the left and right thinking but thinking upwards is so ever endless!
You are all amazing teachers at a most important time in the lives of children:
- I cannot teach anybody anything; I can only make them think. – Socrates
- Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn. – Benjamin Franklin
- You, teachers, are the believers. Children see the light at the end of the tunnel and as you lead them step-by-step.
- You, as teachers feed the children of the whole world, many times over.
- You, as teachers set up the signs for the road ahead that is “life” itself. You inspire students to learn wherever life may take them.
- It is you, the teachers, who have the greatest superpowers: by creating superheroes.
- What the children’s journey looks like begins with you the teachers.
- The reason champions don’t give up is because you the teachers didn’t give up on them!
- You as teachers may experience the struggle of perseverance but you know the results of your efforts, which can never be truly rewarded.
You are caring through your actions, motives and personal sacrifices. Thank you! You know the salary, benefits, and paid vacation days are nice, but the joy of “sacrificial giving is priceless!”
Thank you, TEACHERS!