Similar to last year, the back to school season may still be embedded with uncertainties and unknowns. But, we have a big advantage in being able to learn from each other’s experiences the previous year!
We asked all types of educators (teachers, administrators, support staff, homeschoolers) to share their advice for back to school for the 2021-2022 school year.
Whatever type of educator you are, we hope you find something valuable to take with you, incorporate into your lessons, or just help you stay a little more sane!
Advice for All Educators
Be patient and forgiving with yourself and others. Create a positive environment whether in-person or remote. This will help your students bud as learners and problem-solvers. Adult anxiety tends to be the enemy of student creativity.
-Brandon Smith, Product Director, Lead Mathematician, MIND Research Institute
Right now it's important for teachers to create a learning environment that is safe and compassionate. We have to keep in mind that our kids have been through a traumatic experience and are still going through a lot emotionally. It's our jobs to be a stabilizing force and help them experience some semblance of normalcy in the ‘new normal.
What if lessons attended to both content and social/emotional needs? Think about creating lessons that are challenging enough to create interest, but not too hard that students can’t join in. When students read, write, solve and construct meaning from what was initially difficult, they feel confident and accomplished. Post-pandemic, our students need to feel that academics and emotional confidence is attainable.
-Dr. Elaine Keeley, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, MIND Research Institute
Let's move away from deficit thinking. Students are not to be blamed for "learning loss."
It's not learning loss; it's incomplete learning. This is a new year. Let's continue the learning. We need to model and foster the lifelong learner position we all talk about.
Trust that you know your child best, and be flexible to change up your curriculum or implement new ideas if something isn't working out. Don't worry about what everyone else is doing, or if you are doing 'enough' (you are). Every kid is unique and has different interests and learning styles - the beauty of homeschooling is that you get to spark that love of learning every day in your home. Enjoy these precious years!
We know teaching can be stressful at times, so remember to decompress before becoming burned out. Remember to ask for help when needed and to help others in need. And the most important of all, mistakes help us learn! Good luck this school year!