Whether you are a brand-new teacher or a veteran who has had some challenging school experiences over the years, there is one thing you can count on. This year will be different. Whatever you anticipate – it will likely exceed all your expectations – good and bad.
Covid-19 has changed the “face” of education, quite literally. You may be required to teach in-person classes, a combination of in-person and virtual (hybrid), or completely online. You may start the year one way and it may change after a week or a month.
Teachers need not only survive the 2020-2021 school year, but they also need to learn how to thrive despite demanding and ever-changing circumstances. How can you do that? BE FLEXIBLE.
Flexibility is one of the hallmarks of a good teacher. Situations arise all the time that necessitate rearranging your schedule, lesson plans, route to the cafeteria, teaching style, and so much more. This year, being flexible can save your sanity.
What can you do?
- Do not create lesson plans too far in advance. Ultra-organized teachers often develop lesson plans over the summer, at least for the first several weeks of school – not the best idea for this fall. Try not to make plans for more than a week at a time, as they will probably change. It is much easier to rearrange a week’s worth of lessons than an entire month.
- Prepare lessons that are easily adaptable for face-to-face teaching as well as online.
- Stock up (if you can) on cleaning supplies and hand sanitizer. If you do not use them in the classroom you can always keep them at home or donate them.
- Practice talking all day from behind your mask. It can get stuffy. One way around this in the classroom is to teach for 15 minutes or so and then let the students complete an activity on their own for about 15 minutes.
- Be open with communication with your principal, school board, parents, and students. Acknowledge that no one has all the answers. Everyone is doing the best they can right now.
Flexibility is key for teachers this year. Implement some of these ideas and add your own. You will not be able to eliminate all the stress, but you can certainly lessen it by preparing now.