As 2020 comes to a close, teachers everywhere are uncertain about what 2021 will bring. While many had hoped for a return to a traditional learning model, that does not appear to be on the horizon for many school districts, in many states, across the country. During one of the most unprecedented times in American history, education is still taking place. How? Through technology, hard work, and determination.
Take ten minutes to scroll through social media and you will see countless posts from teachers on the frontlines trying to teach students, appease parents and school administration, and answer hundreds of emails or messages a day; while still trying to stay positive and passionate for their students. Why? The students. The students need their teachers to be there. If it’s in a virtual setting, we do our best to teach them the curriculum, while making up for last year’s losses. We teach with empathy and ensure our students feel loved and cared for. Many students learning from home may have been in an unstable position since March. Perhaps there’s no food in their home, maybe there is abuse, maybe they don’t have the necessary technology to participate in virtual learning, and maybe they don’t have a parent or guardian who cares to make sure they do their work at home so they can continue learning. It’s a crisis, and we are trying to bridge those gaps and ensure care from a computer screen.
If teachers are teaching in a physical classroom, they are doing all of these things as well, but from behind masks, while constantly sanitizing, checking temperatures, and ensuring physical and mental health, for all of us. At any given time, a student might test positive for Covid-19, meaning they quarantine and do virtual learning for two weeks. Any student that has been around this child at school for more than 15 minutes, is considered to have been exposed as well, and they too, must quarantine. Their classroom attendance changes weekly, based upon COVID-19 exposure. At this point, we are teaching some students in our classrooms, while also teaching a certain amount of students who are quarantined at home.
So…. what do teachers need during this time of uncertainty? They need support.
If you are already a vendor with a school, check on your teachers. Send them an email, expressing your gratitude for them and ask them how they’re doing. Perhaps, a resilient or self-care themed educator toolkit could be offered? This year, more than ever, teachers have treasured any tool or resource that is simple, and effective. Market products that are not only teacher-friendly, but are also student and parent-friendly, as all three parties will be utilizing and accessing those tools this year, and for the foreseeable future. In preparation for 2021, school budgets will continue to plan on at least a hybrid model of teaching, so resources like math and literacy subscriptions, learning websites, at home stem kits, and anything that is easily downloaded into google classroom will be vital.
For many of us, especially our students, this is our great historical event, and teachers are navigating through it the best they can. Let’s support them, appreciate them, and market towards their “new normal” with care.
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