Teaching students in the new normal

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It is no mystery that the need for quality teaching and learning with technology in – now, out if – our schools has never been improved. Technology is not going anywhere, and our students need to be ready – not just in school but for daily life, now more than ever, as a student.

The COVID-19 pandemic has provided an opportunity to learn new things. Some of us have gained new knowledge about ourselves, and about others. Some of us have had an opportunity to reflect on what we value and prioritize in life.

Others have had lessons on friendships and the importance of kindness. But possibly one of the most important and profound learnings has been around the role of teachers and the supporting role of parents.

First things first, the role of education are entities that need to transform themselves. The learning from-home mode has abruptly changed the roles of teachers, students, and parents.

As a Classroom Teacher, it is easy to overlook that students do not have the same skills as you do. In the age of touchscreens and social media. Adding one more thing in an already packed day may seem overwhelming – on top of mounting workloads, tight deadlines, and the demands of administrators or parents.

The shift to new normal school setting has been extremely sudden. But we cannot expect to continue instruction at our usual pace. We will all need some time to adjust. Students as well as teachers need to adjust to the new normal and learn all the new programs we are introducing.

Lessons learned from the sudden vanishing of the traditional classroom stage and the isolation of each learner in his or her own space should drive teachers to unlearn old habits and acquire new skills of online learning engagement. Thanks to the pandemic disruption, the online learning execution – no matter how disorderly and inequitable the practices are across the country – has forced teachers to realize that they have to reach out to each student in isolation and examine the effectiveness of their teaching.

If we take advantage of this new opportunity, we can support students become more motivated. Instead of requiring them to do work, we can help them achieve their own goals. Besides, we do not really have a choice. If we are unable to motivate our students, they may not perform, or they will tune in and fool around during lesson time. Teachers need to set a tone for what the new normal look like. Students will feel safer if they think we have things under control. But at the same time, we need to be flexible. Understand that students are willing participants. Respond to their needs and interests. Change things up when they get bored or frustrated.

Teachers with the help of parents can prepare for transition in the same way they do after a long break – or at the start of a new school year. In fact, many of the resources that teachers often provide parents at the end of one school year or at the start of the next may still be hugely relevant. These include reminders about school expectations, and the names of teachers and peers.

It’s important to explain to children that many-day-to-day school activities will remain unchanged, while pointing out areas where change may be required (for example, where they sit in class, how often they need to wash their hands, or where and how they play with others). This will provide a degree of predictability and comfort when they do step back into the classroom.

Teachers together with parents will be building a new routine and should be patient as everybody readjusts. Adults can let children know they are available if the child has questions, and provide age-appropriate, honest responses as they are needed. All adults should encourage and model helpful approaches to coping, as students are not the only ones adjusting to going back to school- we will all be doing it as a community. Keeping a check on our own emotions and managing them productively will also help our children manage theirs. One consideration is that we have all experienced this event together. That alone helps create common ground between us. By: Ellamae U. Peng-as

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