- Covid19 has changed our educational system rapidly, and in a big way.
- A list of resources for districts and teachers.
- Resources for mental health and stress relief.
Covid19 is a game changer unlike any we’ve ever seen. Just look around you. Streets are empty; stores are closed. Parents are with their kids, working from home.
Covid19 changed the way we teach. It changed the way we learn. It changed us virtually overnight.
The good news is that teachers, parents, and students are rising to the occasion. They are doing their part to make the best of things. At this moment, educators are meeting this sudden challenge in record time by transitioning to the online environment. They are getting incredibly creative with a range of technology resources in order to keep ‘business as usual.’ Virtual learning is taking place in homes around the country.At this moment, educators are meeting this sudden challenge in record time by transitioning to the online environment. Click To Tweet
I have been so impressed with the way teachers are supporting one another, too. There has been a mass sharing of tips, virtual lessons, webpages, etc. and on a grand scale. I’m sure many parents and students will agree… teachers ROCK!
For some families, this transition could be easy because parents may be able to support their students with technology in their homes. We have seen photos of smiling students working on dining room tables with an adult helping out. This could be an older sibling, a grandparent, or a mom or dad.
The flip side of this situation is that students in low income neighborhoods are going to fall farther behind. We know that families earning less than $30,000 in annual income most likely do not have Internet access, laptops, or telephones. They do not have the resources that others have, plain and simple.
This is a wake-up call like no other. How will we deal with this level of inequity when we return to classrooms? For now, the question is rhetorical. However, we will need real answers to this question soon enough.
While working from home, I have been scouring the internet to find resources for my district. Surprisingly, there are many good ones that educators can look to for guidance and ideas.
Here is a summary of a few.
Planning Resource for Districts
Fairfax County, Virginia: https://www.fcps.edu/about-fcps.
Recently, I registered for a webinar with Learning Forward, the premier professional development association in our country. It featured Kathy Walts, Executive Director of Professional Development and Family Engagement, who shared Fairfax County Public Schools’ distance learning planning process (intended, current and future).
They outlined their process into these categories: Prep, Considerations, Day of Learning, Current Plan, and Moving Forward. They recommend pausing and resetting in order to adjust to the changing needs of students, parents, and teachers.
Continuity of Learning: On this page, Fairfax also lists a great resource for larger districts to help with the continuity of learning during the Coronavirus outbreak. It is a great place to start. The link will take you there.
Resources for Teachers
Teachers need to check out “Amazing Educators” website. There are hundreds of suggested resources that are FREE due to school closings. Each entry has a clickable link to each subscription, from ABDOdigital.com to Zoom.us.
Take a look… you will be as amazed as I was.[scroll down to keep reading]
So, how are you holding up? This is a moment in time when we need to pay close attention to our own mental health. The crisis is affecting educators, too. At the beginning of any school year, there is a time to make a ‘soft landing’ with our students. Building a sense of community in our classrooms takes planning, care, and time. However, we tried to sustain a ‘business as usual’ mindset when we shifted to remote learning. It’s not so easy.
I think we may have missed a critical first step of giving everyone a chance to slow down. Every pressure cooker has a release valve. At this point, we will need to release as we go along. Keep this in mind when things become too stressful. Here are two excellent websites that help with social/emotional well-being. Check them out.
“Calm: Take a Deep Breath” is an excellent blog. Scroll down the page for tips, music, exercises, and more. I check this site often.
Another excellent resource is ‘The Greater Good Science Center ‘at UC Berkeley. They have a resource specific to coping through the Coronavirus. I have recommended this resource to social workers and counselors.
International educators have compiled an extensive list of lessons learned at this Google doc. We can learn from others who have been on long school closings for a variety of reasons. Lauren Fernandez who compiled the list begins by saying, “Don’t expect it will be perfect…” Check it out here.
Teachers are ‘people people.’ We love being with our students, day after day, year after year. Our students need us, too. We have a need to be connected.
The Covid19 crisis has catapulted us into an arena where we must explore, connect, and collaborate in new and creative ways. The arc of this learning curve is steep. So, let’s not be too hard on ourselves. Just know that we’ll meet this challenge together.
About Dr. Maribeth Edmunds
Dr. Maribeth Edmunds, an educator in New Jersey’s public schools for over 30 years, is Director of Secondary Education with the South Brunswick School District. She has served as an English teacher and then as an elementary school principal before assuming the role of director. Maribeth earned her doctorate in Educational Leadership Management and Policy from Seton Hall University where she now teaches graduate courses as an adjunct. Dr. Edmunds is committed to high academic achievement for all students and quality professional development for teachers. You can follow her on Twitter @DrMBEdmunds where she connects with educators from all over the world.