Planning for Better Professional Development in an Uncertain Future
As we continually attempt to adapt to the Covid-19 environment, we have all encountered a very high learning curve in our roles as parents, homeschool instructors, and members of a workforce that is new to working at home. This learning curve has been much more challenging for educators (I’d guess a 90 percent gradient), and it’s been covered in bacon grease the whole time. My thoughts have been turning toward how we can help teachers and support them with that learning curve so that they don’t do a nosedive off the cliff. As we all start looking into the crystal ball to see what school is going to look like come fall, my thoughts have turned toward how we can help teachers.
In light of this, what are some shifts in the ways in which teachers are supported and developed that education policymakers need to keep an eye on? I’ve identified five distinct shifts that need to be addressed immediately, and for which we then need to begin creating plans for long-term development and support. We are in a pinch, therefore we need to handle these shifts immediately. If we want the fall to be more successful, there is one important stipulation that is required about the implementation of the strategy plan.
FIVE NECESSARY SHIFTS IN PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT
1. Instruction that takes into account past trauma: Every student (and possibly teacher) is experiencing some level of trauma as a result of the recent pandemic and the recent protests around the country against police brutality following the death of George Floyd, a black Minneapolis resident who died after a white officer, Derek Chauvin, knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes. Floyd was a victim of police brutality after he was a victim of police brutality following the death of George Floyd, a black Minneapolis resident who was killed after a white officer What does this entail for the professional development of teachers as they get ready for the school year 2020–2021? Teachers will need to undergo professional development in order to be able to provide trauma-informed instruction to their pupils, and it is highly likely that teachers will also wish to investigate how they themselves are experiencing trauma. The focus placed on relationships within a teaching method that is informed by research on trauma has the potential to assist all of us in emerging from this experience stronger and more equipped to handle the genuine problems that are preventing students from learning.
2. the development of teams and cooperative endeavours: It is a common misconception that because instructors are adults, they will be able to collaborate effectively with one another in a team setting. Not so! The development of highly effective teams is an essential component of both the effectiveness of teachers and their own learning, as well as the education of their students. It appears that there is an increase in the amount of teacher collaboration due to the epidemic, based on the talks I’ve had with other educators. How can we build on this and consciously return to school buildings as teacher teams that are even more highly effective?
3. SEL (for teachers and students): This kind of professional learning was already in motion a long time before the pandemic, but distance learning has placed an even stronger focus on social and emotional learning for both students and instructors. SEL stands for social and emotional learning. Studies have shown that social and emotional learning (SEL) must be ingrained into every aspect of the educational setting, including the roles that teachers play. A recent poll of 5,000 educators revealed that the five feelings that were most frequently cited were anxiousness, anxiety, worry, and feeling overwhelmed, followed by sadness. How can we support teachers even more in this area so that we may all return to school in the fall feeling healthier, happier, and armed with a toolbox full of techniques to help our students navigate the same path?
4. Dynamic hybrid learning and distant learning: As the current school year comes to a close, school administrators (as well as parents) are beginning to speculate about what classrooms will look like when school resumes in the autumn of 2020. I have a strong suspicion that, with the well-being of students in mind, we will still have stringent social distancing guidelines in place in a number of states, and in some instances, schools may have a combination of in-person and education conducted at the student’s home. But what does this imply for teaching in general and for the classroom specifically? In order to successfully adapt highly successful face-to-face educational activities to the virtual environment, educators will need to develop their ability to learn from trial and error. They will also need training and support in order to use videoconference equipment both within and outside of the classroom, as well as in order to figure out how to attend to the needs of pupils who are seated at desks inside the school building (and in their home living rooms). Additionally, we need to address the technology divide as well as other injustices that are being brought to light by the rise of distance learning.
5. Involvement of the Family In spite of the challenges that are presented by emergency distance learning, I’ve talked to a number of educators who indicate that it has resulted in much more significant and deeper relationships with families and caregivers. As the stepparent of four adolescents who are enrolled in public schools, I have also had the opportunity to view this situation from the figurative other side of the conference table. How can we capitalise on this momentum and assist educators in maintaining the deep relationships that are crucial to the learning process?
And now, the major (crucial, indispensable, you should read this if you only read one thing) caveat concerning implementation: Educators are currently experiencing symptoms of burnout that range from moderate to severe. It is possible that some exhaustion is to be anticipated around the conclusion of the academic year; but, the stress and anxiety that occurred with Covid-19 have really ramped up that for a lot of instructors.
When it comes to providing assistance to students, they serve as our first-line staff. They are the players who will start for us. And we need those starters to be well rested and ready to produce their best performance in the autumn because, let’s face it, there are a lot of unknowns that are being revealed each and every day. Let’s just face the facts and accept that the upcoming fall season is going to be difficult. Therefore, we require that our educators are completely prepared to meet the problem with brilliant solutions.
However, as a result of the pandemic, the morale of educators is currently lower than it often is. The instructors first require downtime to relax and refocus, and then the freedom to choose their own educational paths. Because they are only human, we can’t reasonably expect instructors to learn everything in only a few short months.
They should be presented with a variety of choices for professional development opportunities that are based on their awareness of themselves as adult learners as well as the requirements of the students who will be joining their classes. After that, they are provided with a number of options for continuing their professional education. For other people, this can involve participating in book discussions with coworkers, webinars, online workshops, or Twitter chats. It should be the responsibility of each individual educator to take care of developing their own learning, revitalising their educator soul and spirit in preparation for the upcoming school year of 2020–2021 and whatever surprises that year may hold.