I’ve seen a lot of metaphors for what pandemic teaching is like. Some say teaching in 2020 is like building a plane while you’re flying it. Others compare it to working on a rubik cube: just when you thought everything would click into place, the whole thing falls apart. No matter what your metaphor of choice is, one thing is clear: teaching in 2020 has been really hard. And while I am not a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions, I do find myself reflecting on the past few months as we count down the days until this year is finally over. Something else has become clear to me: teaching in 2020 has taught us a lot about ourselves. We asked teachers in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE Facebook group to share what they’ve learned (spoiler alert: there’s a lot teachers are proud of).
1. I know 100,000x more than I did before
“I have learned that my students and I are very adaptable. I didn’t know how we were going to do this at first but everyone is on a routine and it’s actually going very well. I also think it’s a positive in a way that it’s grown us as educators! I know 100,000 x more than I did last year about technology and will still use a lot of these resources when we go back to school.” —Kylee
2. I’m more tech savvy
“I feel like a real techy now. Feel much more confident in that area.” —Sandy.
3. I’m saving time on grading
“I’ve been more on top of my grading this year than ever in my whole career just by doing everything digitally.” —Tenille.
4. I can add web designer to my resume
“I’m going to have an amazing website by the end of the year. I need to figure out how to transition it to a permanent website. Right now it’s just week by week with links each day.” —Nanette
5. I’m better at communication
“I’m learning how to relay important concerns to parents and still be supportive of their efforts. The responses I’ve received from most parents have been mostly positive.” —Anna.
6. I’ve seen my students rise to the occasion
“I have really improved my communication skills with both students and parents. I have sent hundreds of emails detailing missing work, great weeks, etc. I’ve also verified that kids who want to do well will rise to the occasion.” —Shonda
7. My feet don’t hurt!
“Yes, it’s a lot of effort to connect with and get to know students virtually but it is completely possible to make a difference and still love what you do in a virtual classroom. (Plus: no discipline issues or tired feet!)” —Anna
8. I’m putting relationships first
“The absolute and utter importance of relationship building.” —Kara
9. I’m not sweating the small things
“That my students don’t care what I look like or where I teach from they just want to interact with each other, show me things, even if it’s on a screen and learn.” —Jordan
10. I’m setting boundaries
“My own health and well-being comes first. Then the health and well-being of my family. Then the health and well-being of my students. The curriculum comes in last place.” —Maureen
11. Work will always be there, but it can wait
“It’s taught me that no matter how hard or long I work, the work will never be done and very little of it is visible, so if I stop at 5pm or 8pm really doesn’t matter.” —Michelle
12. I am more flexible than I realized
“I can be a lot more flexible than I thought. And flexibility is a good thing, at least for me.” —Karen
What has pandemic teaching taught you? Share in the comments! Plus, get more teacher stories and tips by subscribing to our newsletter.
Also: teachers, this is all impossibly hard, but we’re better prepared than we realize.