2020 has been chaotic for teachers and students alike. With many schools canceling in-person classes in mid-March and then scrambling to choose new methods for learning, no two weeks have been the same. But now that the summer’s over and fall classes have begun, many schools have transitioned to programs with a larger online presence than before.
The Economic Policy Institute (EPI) reports that “The current downturn is unique, and in most ways, it is much more severe than any we have experienced in recent history. Almost overnight, the pandemic forced the cancellation of the traditional learning that takes place in school settings…Most K–12 teachers did not contemplate online instruction until being forced to do so by the pandemic. As a result, teachers have had to come up with a variety of options on the fly, from assigning daily or weekly coursework that students turn in online to full classes conducted via Zoom and a range of approaches in between.”
But many teachers have finally found their rhythm and school is proceeding again… after a fashion. Whether socially distanced on-site learning, exclusively online, or a hybrid of both, students can start to reestablish their autumn schedule of classes, homework, grades, and weekends.
Resources like EXAMgen’s question banks are a tremendous help by making assignments and test creation easy. Broken down into à la carte sections by grade level and subject matter, this leaves teachers free to spend more time dealing with the less quantifiable fall-out of the pandemic. These include access to computers, consistent wi-fi, regular meals, and a dedicated workspace which affect not only students but some education and support professionals themselves.
We all try to plan for a rainy day, but COVID-19 has been more like monsoon season. But we’re taking things one day at a time and learning from mistakes and planning snafus as we go. Instead of focusing on the three Rs of old (Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic) researchers at the EPI suggest a new plan: “Translating what we have learned into a plan for the ‘three Rs’ of relief, recovery, and rebuilding.”
“Throughout the coronavirus pandemic, we have made choices about how to sustain, or provide relief to, the education system,” they explain. “We have also had the opportunity to consider how best to proceed as we start to recover, and how to rebuild the system by taking more decisive action on substantial, long-needed changes. Indeed, how well we rebuild the education system will determine how well we address the impacts the pandemic has had on our human capital and how prepared we are for shocks of this nature in the future.”
They say that teaching is a work of heart. If 2020 has shown us anything it’s how much we rely on our schools for consistency and the comforts of routine. Teachers are going above and beyond for our children so send them a quick thank you if you can. No-one knows what tomorrow will bring, but we’ll figure it out together. Teachers, you are making history, and we see you and we're here for you. Keep up the great work!