9-12 CTE (Career Technology Education) Lead
My initial thoughts [regarding virtual learning] were - how will we reach the students that are basically raising themselves, who will ensure that those students are logging into class or have the resources necessary to participate virtually, and how will my teachers balance work and home life – will they be able to prepare and teach while trying to assist their own children?
The biggest challenges that I face as a teacher supervisor are technology and fear of the unknown. As you prepare for virtual learning, you focus mainly on the needs of the students and how those needs can be met. Technology is being provided for the students and teachers; however, the ability of parents to come and get the technology varies and the parents’ ability to assist once home varies
greatly. As for the teachers, they have the technology to use; however, the ability to translate all materials in a manner that is effective for students to learn from or understand can be very challenging. Further, both the students and teachers are fearful of not having all the necessary information to perform in an optimal manner while fearing the day of having to return to in-person instruction. The days are spent providing positive reassurance of everyone’s efforts, and
preparing the buildings for abrupt reentry.
The biggest misconceptions [about teaching virtually] are teaching is easy, teachers aren’t doing anything– it’s the parents doing it all, and students aren’t learning, they are trying to turn everyone into robots – learning the same way. All of these are far from the truth in every aspect. Teachers have gained more requirements and responsibilities since the inception of virtual learning. Teachers are required to provide more in-person teaching time with less time for planning and collaboration with colleagues to address individualized student needs. Teachers have to develop lessons that reach all modalities of learning and address technology issues as they arise during the lesson. At the same time, teachers must assist their own school-aged children during the day. Teachers have a way to disguise the overwhelming load of responsibilities, by saying “I’m fine and I got it!” Teaching is for those who can endure to the end. The school system provides Social Emotional Learning techniques and meetings as a means to address feelings of anxiety and chaos. As a lead, I have provided more open conversations with my teachers about their feelings and the supports they need to perform at their best.
My Faith in God, exercise, and the ability to talk with colleagues on a consistent basis about any issues that arise and solutions to fix them [are how I cope]. God provides me with the strength to push through, exercise builds my mental strength and clarity, and talking with colleagues allows for me to release any anxieties.
I hope that the students gain confidence in their skills academically and personally. I hope they acknowledge their ability to manage learning and solving problems by using all modes of learning. In one class session, they encounter audio; video; kinesthetic; and mix model delivery of instruction, and still manage to retain information. They are all A+ students with a plethora of opportunities
available to them.
Personally, I would like for others to respect the craft of Teaching, and understand the lengths that teachers go through to meet the needs of their students, families, the district, the overall community, and then themselves. Teachers are burnt out, but they manage to keep smiling and thriving through it all.