Top 3 Things Teachers Should Focus on for Returning to In-Person Classes
Teachers have had to shift — drastically. Once-filled desks sat empty for months as students were forced to stay home at the onset of COVID-19. Does this routine sound familiar to you? Wake up, turn on your laptop, prepare your teaching materials, and get ready for a virtual class.
According to a Census study in August 2020, about 93% of homes with “school-aged children” were involved in distance learning.
It seemed like cobwebs were about to grow on those desks. Until teachers across Canada suddenly got word. In-person classes would slowly resume. That meant teachers could now unlock their classroom doors and feel at home again behind their desks.
But since the transition, it hasn’t been all smooth sailing. Naturally, students and educators alike grew used to proctoring tests and lecturing over video. It was rough at first, but adaptation began. Now, it’s like having to transition to pre-COVID schooling all over again.
As of June 2021, things are going full swing in the classroom. But students and instructors alike are still experiencing some challenges, especially since COVID-19 regulations are always prone to change. There is a severe lack of stability that is echoing through schools across the nation.
From an educator’s perspective, you can ease this struggle for yourself and your pupils by focusing on three key areas. These tips are specially created for teachers going back to school during COVID-19.
1.Communication and Teamwork
As human beings, we learn our communication and teamwork skills by being around other humans. So, what happens when you go digital and remove the face-to-face aspect of learning? You lose cues like body language, which is critical to social development.
Moving forward, teachers should be focused on helping students improve their communication and teamwork skills. Since your pupils have been away from in-person classes, this might be quite challenging.
As a teacher going back to school during COVID, you can facilitate this improvement by providing a platform for them to practice discussions. A platform like this one offers a classroom forum to chat about projects and school-related topics.
Part of communication and teamwork is also relationships. We really stress building relationships with your students. This will encourage them to open up more and become more engaged in discussions and teambuilding activities if they have an open dialogue with you.
Just because we are resuming classes face-to-face does not mean tech in the classroom will disappear. Actually, educational technology will always be a part of learning. We live in a digital age, and that won’t be changing anytime soon.
Focus on inspiring students to get interested in educational technology. They can “future-proof” themselves by building a strong foundation in tech early on. Just take a look at these stats taken from Stream.
- Students in the US with 60+ minutes of device use per week achieved higher academic results.
- Gamification in e-learning can boost educational outcomes by 89.45% (projected).
- In 2016, 81% of college students worldwide said digital learning technology helped improve their grades.
- About 37% of students globally use laptops in the classroom.
Those stats are just the tip of the iceberg. As we continue developing ed-tech, we predict a high increase in technological advancement among young students. So, guide your pupils to better understand the tech they are using in preparation for the future. It might even strengthen your own tech knowledge in the process.
3. Navigating Change
Considering the circumstances, if you don’t soak in anything else from this article, navigating change should be a top focus. First, let’s take a look at this quote.
“Institutions heavily invested in online learning had an easier time responding to the pandemic shutdown and pivot to remote teaching” – source
Now, take a moment and reflect on your own institution. Do you feel like your school pivoted well to remote teaching? Do you feel like your school is adapting well to in-person classes again?
Really sitting with those questions might help you determine what your school is doing right and where you can take charge in the classroom to promote better adaptability.
If you can handle change as a teacher during COVID, regardless of your institution as a whole, your pupils will be in good hands. Focus on becoming flexible in your lesson plans, methods of instruction, and riding the line between teacher, counsellor, and occasional tech support.
Bonus Tip: Coping & Mental Health Behaviour
Here’s a bonus tip for teachers resuming class during COVID. Focus on modelling healthy coping mechanisms and behaviour. This piece of advice plays into our last point above. As a teacher, you often find yourself playing the role of counsellor. And sometimes, you might even feel like a second parent.
Don’t be afraid to guide your students when times seem troubling. Your students look to you for guidance, regardless of how you feel towards them. They pay attention to you more than you may think! How you act, talk, and compose yourself while in their presence will impact how they compose themselves.
So, teach your students healthy habits. Instead of hiding the truth, have honest conversations with them about COVID and even the future. Acknowledge their fears and frustrations with an open heart. Teach them to live consciously and with empathy for others. Learning healthy coping behaviours and mental health patterns at an early age could truly transform their lives.
You Can Kickstart Your Students’ Future
How would you like to play a role in your students’ success? The answer from most teachers is, “I’d love to! It’s my job.” Well, platforms like Thinking Cap make your job a lot easier. With their technology-based learning kits, you can increase your class’s average grade by a stunning 8%. That’s something you, your pupils, their parents, and the school board will approve of.
What did you think of the tips above? What will you be focusing on as classes resume in person?