Teaching is a profession that is always changing, and it’s only getting harder. The new normal of teaching means that we’re now seeing more one-hour lessons based on different platforms, engaging videos, interactive assessments, and shorter assignments. This all means adapting to new levels of technology in order to remain relevant. The pandemic has had a profound effect on education. The impact of the pandemic on education has been far-reaching and devastating. Schools have been forced to close, teachers have been laid off, and students have been left behind. The pandemic effect on education will be felt for years to come.
Thankfully there are some effective methods that you can employ right away, and below, you will find ten examples of things you can do to make sure your classroom is a safe and supportive environment for your students and staff–and does not become a breeding ground for anxiety, fear or sadness.
- 1. Make it fun
No matter what your students are facing, they want to be excited every day they come to school. Keep in mind that even as children of today, our brains did not fully develop until somewhere between the ages of 3 and 17.
So even though we are not taught how to find joy in the world from a young age, it does not mean we cannot learn it later on. Even if kids don’t know exactly why they need to smile or laugh, this is the time for you to teach them how (and hopefully make some of your own).
- 2. Don’t just talk about empathy. Show it.
Empathy is so important to teaching and raising our young kids, but how do you do that? Instead of telling them what they should feel or think, show them that these are valid emotions and how they can be felt by everyone. If a child is upset over something they see on the news, bring that up in class and talk about it in an open forum with the entire class.
Let them know that there are other kids in the room who might be feeling sad right now, but it’s okay because we’re all here for each other. This is a great way to open up the classroom to discuss what’s happening
beyond school and show them that you will be there for them both emotionally and physically.
- 3. Open up communication
This is not only important for the children to know but also for you as an educator. You need to talk with other members of staff who are dealing with this trauma, too, so that you can help each other through it all.
Pass on the information you have learned from a parent or student and keep the lines of communication open during this trying time. It’s not only important in your professional life but also in your personal life, well, if you have young kids at home who may be terrified during this period of time.
- 4. Start early
Not only is early childhood important, but it’s also the most critical time to instill kindness and values into developing minds. Children are not born with a developed moral compass; they are more likely to be selfish, self-centered, and disrespectful if they do not learn what good is as soon as possible.
If you have kids who are still in diapers and can’t really understand why the world is such a harsh place, start telling them stories about why people are nice and kind in class (it’s the simplest form of teaching). It’s not about indoctrinating your children into believing the world is a good place. It’s about teaching them that the world is a better place when people are nice to each other.
- 5. But don’t forget your grown-up students either
They may have already been exposed to these circumstances by the time they start High School, but if they know how they can respond in an emergency situation and know how important it is to be a good citizen in general, they’re less likely to feel like a burden.
It’s important to keep in mind that your second-semester Freshman class will be full of kids who experience this news on a daily basis and need all the extra support they can get.
- 6. Be open
This is the best rule of all when it comes to going through something as frightening as this. You have the opportunity to shape young minds in a way that could eventually prevent something like this from ever happening again.
When students feel that they can come to you with any issue, they will become more comfortable talking with you about anything, and it will make your job easier in the long run because you’ll know what’s going on in their heads instead of having to put all the puzzle pieces together and try to find out why they’re hurting or feeling uncomfortable.
- 7. Use this opportunity to reach out
As a teacher, you have the opportunity to reach out to parents, children, and other members of your community that may be isolated. If you have kids from countries all over the world going to your school, use this time to show them that you care about what’s going on in the places they come from. You can clearly see how much they’re struggling, and it’s up to you to let them know that they’re not alone.
- 8. Be aware of what’s being said out in the world
This is one of the biggest ways that teachers can help their students deal with these types of traumatic events if they are still too young to understand anything else written here (beyond a basic level). Take the time to stop talking about only the safe, happy things and talk about what’s really happening in the world.
If you see things through a filter, your students will too. Help them see things for what they really are, and you’ll help them reach a point in their lives where they can rightfully hate injustice without becoming overly emotional about every little thing.
The Final Word
You have the power to make a drastic change in your classroom and in the lives of the children you teach. As adults, we have forgotten that teaching is meant to make us better people and that education is something we should make sure others receive. We are the future, and we need to make sure that our community is ready to face anything that comes their way.
Some students are finding that they prefer learning from home, while others are struggling to adjust to the new format of education during a pandemic. Regardless of how students feel about online education, it is likely here to stay, at least for the foreseeable future.
This is an extreme example of what education can look like and what it is supposed to do. Let’s not forget why we entered this profession in the first place, even when we get so wrapped up in the minutiae of standardized tests and making sure our students pass. Let’s help them be prepared for life and teach them how to deal with things as they come, not only for their sake but for ours as well. Connect with us at Classplus to get an easier view to the world of online teaching with the help of their own app with all their requirements in it.