- A return push to life skills: one thing I have enjoyed seeing more than anything is the sheer amount of life skills students have had the chance to learn. I have truly loved seeing so many kids learn to cook, clean, budget, shop and plan their time. I have always believed education in general overlooks a focus on essential life skills. Not in a classroom but in an authentic context. Students are so time poor, life skills are often last. I would love to see more of a push for life skills moving forward.
- Smaller classroom sizes: the reality is many people now understand how hard it is to manage large class sizes. Society is realising how hard it is to juggle a few different learners. With different needs, experiences, personalities and learning styles. Imagine that times 28. It is almost an impossible ask at times. Smaller class numbers means that things are not overlooked as much. Time is more of a luxury and students get quality time with educators.
- Appreciation for teachers: some of the comments, videos and memes circulating have truly given me a laugh. Some families have discovered that educators comments and concerns that they doubted may be valid after all. Society in general has realised that teaching is an art, holidays and breaks are needed and it is not as easy as just printing a worksheet. Truly knowing a student and how they learn best is harder than people think. Motivating students and helping them grow their confidence and mindset is also essential. Society seems to be finding a new found respect for teachers. People have realised just how hard they work, how trained they are and that their job isn’t just 9 to 3.
- Creativity to flourish: often without the constraints of time, creativity thrives. When you get lost in the moment and in flow creativity and imagination reign. You are so immersed in a project that you forget that you a learning. You innovate and create something new. You learn so many new skills that you surprise yourself. To me, this is one of the most important things I hope stays. I don’t know how but creativity is one of the things that I value the most.
- Less time constraints and pressure: this has forced so many people to stop. Slow down and pause. Good. Balance is vital for health and wellbeing. So many families have had more time together to reconnect. Or disconnect from unhealthy situations. Whatever it may be, pause gives time for reflection and our students work at such intense speeds. Being busy all the time is not life. It is certainly not a life I desire. Slowing down allows you to live with more intention. I truly hope that our student moving forward have more time for a break and can balance..
Some countries like mine are lucky enough to look towards taking steps to ease restrictions. I have no crystal ball to tell you what will happen on return to classrooms. So I sat down with a coffee and reflected on what I hope happens as we move forward in education. Here are my top five:
It is hard to believe how quickly the weeks fly by when working from home. Some days seems to drag on as you look at a screen all day. Others, you sit back and ponder where the hours went. As I travel into over a month of remote teaching from home, I can certainly say that I have learnt so many new skills rapidly. Setbacks also occur with any new learning. However, learning from setbacks is what we push with our students and we are no different. These are a few new realisations that I have had recently:
Avoid expectations, labels and judgements: this one for me is a key. It is easy to label situations and move on or expect things to go a certain way. Never have adaptability and flexibility been more needed. It is so easy to judge the tone in an email, judge a set of circumstances or assume people’s feelings. However often what I assume or predict is simply not accurate. Trying to avoid making judgements or predictions means that you can go a little easier on yourself.
Avoid resource overload : best intentions are on display at the moment. Organisations, companies, other teachers and people in general are throwing a range of free trials to the public. There is SO much information and resource sharing. It is overwhelming. Everything is made to sound good and easy. Everyone has an opinion about what sounds great, what is a great resource and what would be best for kids. Stop. Breathe and go with what is the easiest and what the students know. All of these free resources are excellent but we have not had the time to teach students how to access and use all of these yet. Start small and familiar and slowly build from there.
Stop comparing: this school is great as they do it this way their students. My favourite line so far of Covid19. Many opinions are being shared on social media of what other teachers are doing. Posts of how parents are adapting and making amazing Insta worthy learning spaces for their kids are popping up everywhere. What is really happening is that teachers and parents are designing what works best for their family, their situation and their kids. One size in this case does not fit all because I assure you that every situation is different. You simply can’t compare schools and teachers. Avoiding comparisons is the key to feeling more confident in what you are doing.
Set a switch off point and automate an email: when working from home, it is easy to blur the lines between what is work and home life. You want to do as much as you can but you also need to look after yourself for the long haul. There is always the temptation to just check emails for five minutes and clear them. Families are also working at all hours to accommodate their situations. There does come a time when you need to switch off emails. Setting vacation mode for weekends also allows you to have uninterrupted breaks. Often over the two days, issues often resolve themselves anyway. Set clear boundaries to allow yourself a full mental break.
Celebrate success: at first, there was no way I was going to get on video. No way was I going to open myself up for critique and judgement on my teaching style. Yet five weeks in and here I am doing videos and Zoom meetings confidently and easily. I am more confident using Goggle Classrooms. I have discovered new email features, new tricks and new strategies. Learning I would not have normally had the time to cultivate. Set aside time to record down your new skills. Stop. Take a moment and be proud of yourself.
We often forget to celebrate the successes. I cannot believe how teachers have adapted quickly and have pushed their skillset so rapidly. We have become learners during this process like our students. As we find our way through this path all I know is that our students are lucky to have so many worldwide educators going above and beyond to help them access some form of learning. Stay strong teachers.
#twocreativeteachers #teachers #educators
How do I shift my mindset and years of experience in the classroom to make remote learning work? This is a question I have spent weeks pondering on and will probably never answer. I don’t think anyone will find the best or perfect system. What I hope teachers and schools do, is try to find what works for their students, families and the community. In doing this, I asked myself what could I do to make working remotely successful for me in my situation. Here are some of the things that I find works for me at the moment:
Remember: Go slow and be strategic, do not rush into doing it all: things will develop as we move on this journey. We don’t start a new journey having achieved the end result. Things will change as no one knows how this will end or what normal will look like after this.
Things may be different for a long time. We just cannot predict what will happen. All I do know is that every teacher out there is enough. Whatever you are doing it is enough.
#twocreativeteachers #teachers #education
Who would have thought that we would have started our year this way? Moving into such new and unfamiliar territory. It is worrying times for teachers in Australia as we are still teaching in a dual role. That role is still ever changing. I am more than happy to help the community in times of need, but I would like to think that my safety is also of concern. Right now, it is hard to keep a classroom of students at a safe distance. It is also extremely challenging doing so without any protective gear. Another new challenge presenting is finding a balanced remote learning program. So many challenges in such a short time frame! However I have full faith that if any group will rise to the occasion and meet these challenges, it will be teachers.
Teachers certainly have a unique way of adapting to setbacks and problem solving on the go. We just need the community to be patient and work with us. So I am beginning to think of how I can address some of these issues and face what is coming. I started by looking at things that I can control and manage. This helped shift my mindset and I hope that you can make a coffee, sit back and do the same.
Every person has a story in this situation. What strikes me is the magnitude of people who lives have been changed because of this. Life as we know it, has shifted for a while and people have been impacted on so many levels. Some more than others. Teachers will have a vital role to play as this situation develops. Whoever you are and wherever you are, stay safe and I hope that you find some peace in your day. #education #teachers #twocreativeteachers
Remote learning is a new concept for me. I have been a teacher in Australia for 20 years. While I was aware of some of the tools and strategies used by other countries I know find myself thrust rapidly into exploring the concept. There is a huge wave of panic that students will fall behind and it will do lifelong damage missing this much school. I disagree. I hope it’s the opposite. Some kids really lack life skills and the time to be kids and just play. They seemed to have missed a stage where imagination and creativity ruled and boredom inspired you, not hindered you. In a wave on instant gratification, this pause in society may allow kids the time to learn to slow down. I always try to find a silver lining in a situation. Something to be grateful for. This situation is a little trickier as it has happened so quickly. However, most of society is learning to adapt so quickly. Here are a few things that I hope come from all of this for our students:
I am so excited to be launching our free new 2020 booklet. This free teacher workbook Is designed to help you reflect on where you are now and where you want to go. grab a coffee, find a quiet space and enjoy setting your new year up for success. #twocreativeteachers #education #workbook
Annette Palma and Carley Rogozik/ Dawson