“Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.”Steve Revington
Since the pandemic has hit the past, yes, we have been dealing with it now for three years! The leaders and others have spotlighted education. I am an educator not currently in the trenches, but glad for the focus!
As the focus has spotlighted education, I would like to see more collaborative work than finger-pointing. Have there been many mistakes? I think there has been plenty, and I do not need to do a root cause analysis to determine where the source is before I can provide some solutions to help our children, staff, families, and communities. Put down the fingers, close the talking points, open your eyes and ears. Now let's begin...
First, stop the political posturing, your division curriculum ideology, do this and not that kind of talk so we can get down to the fundamental foundations of education. “Education is not something we do to children; we do it with them.”-Brenda Yoho
Second, many are fussing; some are cussing, others are trying, and all of us need to be praying as our children are confused, scared, bored, and stick a fork in us-we are done! They are behind in many areas, trying to get caught up; others are fine, and some do not want to wait while classmates try to understand.
Third, teachers are exhausted; we have a shortage, they have families too, teachers get sick as well, and not everyone is the same, so stop treating them as one! In every profession, you will have some individuals who are not the best, but to group them all the same, is insane. We do this with lawyers, political leaders, police, and teachers. We have to stop. My friend and I saw a great t-shirt while shopping between doctor appointments. “Leave all of the Judging to Jesus.”
Now what do we do?
Solutions begin by:
- Identify the basics: The core skills children need to master!
- Prioritize the needs: How to prioritize in the greatest to lowest need.
- Generate possible tools or strategies: Gather all resources as possible solutions to be used.
- Determine the value in each tool and strategy: Decide on what tools and techniques will be used.
- Collaborate to establish a possible calendar: Set timelines for checkpoints, data points and final data collection.
- Determine the start date: Implementation of the resources
- Evalute the data collected: Make determinations from the data on next steps in providing solutions for all.
Solutions begin by
- Professional knowledge: Teachers pedagogy and daily work with students guide students.
- Continued learning: Professional learning is targeted to support teacher needs as they grow to support learners.
- Collaborative support: Engaging in communities to support each other in shared responsibility.
- Culture and Climate: Positive culture and climate built on trust, where relationships are built.
- Networking: Connecting with others inside and outside of the community to brainstorm and discover new ideas.
- More than we think: Students watch, listen and gather all of the information everywhere, from everyone and everything!
- Doing less right now: People around them are doing less. Less work, less caring, less giving, and less hopeful is common.
- Wearing a mask: Is normal
- Shaking hands: A thing of the past.
- Going to school: May be virtually every day instead of face to face.
We can find solutions when we identify the problem, seek answers, implement a plan, and evaluate what works. We cannot throw things and hope they stick or point fingers to blame. Our children can not afford one more minute of time being wasted. Let’s get going!
Problem-Not enough teachers
- Hire a couple of permanent subs. Rotate them throughout your district. If you are lucky and do not need one or both on a day, utilize them to give teachers breaks to work on special projects, lessons or other things. You can also use them to help with small groups for interventions or enrichment.
- Hire teaching assistants to help as class sizes may increase due to lack of staff. Not an ideal situation, but will be an alternative to help teachers and students
- Scheduling flexibility. Allow teachers who may be out sick due to COVID agree to teach from home via Zoom and not lose sick days.
- Connect with colleges to see if students are available to help in some capacity. Also to engage in talks with getting them to be interested in your district.
More solutions can be found by networking with others, creative thinking, and asking more questions.