The COVID-19 pandemic has thrust us into a strange new territory. We don't expect you to do it alone, but with the right tools we can forge ahead despite all of the challenges and uncertainty.
That’s one of the reasons we launched our COVID-19 webinar series featuring keynote speakers from the National Charter Schools Conference who are pioneers in digital learning.
We were especially thrilled to feature Google’s Chief Education Evangelist Jaime Casap in last week’s webinar on working and teaching from home. You can watch the webinar in full, but we realize that some of you are juggling teaching fractions, making lunch, and preparing a presentation for work. So, we are breaking down four of the key takeaways:
1. Take a breath
We are living in unprecedented times, so first things first, take a breath. We are all adjusting to the new normal—figuring out how to keep our families safe, stay at home, work from home, and teach at home. It's not easy. You will make mistakes, so give yourself time to adjust and don't be afraid to pivot. There is no blueprint; we are all learning as we go.
2. Create a schedule, but be flexible
Your students have a daily schedule at school, so while they are home, establish a learning routine, but be flexible. Don't try to replicate school or the office at home. Instead, keep in mind the individual needs of your student and adapt to what works well. Create checkpoints and build in time for fun throughout the day to encourage exploration, creativity, and excitement about learning. Activities can be as simple as learning measurements and fractions by baking the family's favorite treat or taking a Code Break.
3. Embrace Low-Tech Resources
Due to the pandemic, schools across the country switched to distance learning and educators are teaching on platforms like Zoom and Google Classroom. Unfortunately, for many less privileged students, low-tech is the only option. We need to ensure that students who don't have access to technology don't fall behind or feel neglected. Educators and parents must use all available resources to keep the relationship between teachers and students. Office hours via phone and text or providing audio feedback on assignments are some of the ways that teachers can support students learning remotely who have little-to-no access to technology.
4. Invest in Education
The COVID-19 pandemic has put education at the forefront of all our minds. And while this crisis has highlighted many of the education inequalities faced by underprivileged students, it has also put us in a unique position to reimagine what's possible in education. Coming out of this crisis, Jaime highlights three things we can do to futureproof education: invest in high-quality teachers by paying them more, invest in school infrastructure projects to create learning spaces of the future, and focus on the essential skills that students will need to enter the workforce.
Sindy Pierre-Noel is the senior manager of programs at the National Alliance for Public Charter Schools