Teachers Need our Help
K-12 teachers are either teaching online, teaching face-to-face, or doing both. Despite what you think you learned last spring, the easiest job is teaching online.Look for ways to help teachers this year. They are already tired and they have so far to go still.Click To Tweet
While many wanted K-12 public school systems to open, only the states had real power. Federal funding only accounts for roughly 10% of a school system’s budget, most school funding comes from the state (Long, 2020). There have been discussions of designating teachers “essential workers” in some states(Will, 2020). This designation would change working requirements for teachers and worth be worth researching those if your state is considering such changes.
Help Face-to-Face Teachers
The extra stress and routines of face-to-face teaching during a pandemic are expansive. Often with reduced staff, more cleaning, greater spacing requirements, training, and reinforcing new expectations is complicating face-to-face instruction. The classroom is also now a contained space filled with as much danger of illness and joy of learning.
Teachers need to limit their time under this stress. Help them by allowing their outside fo classtime to not be school-centric. In order to survive through this school year, teachers will need to recuperate weekly, daily even. This is the best year to jealously guard personal time.
“…participants lost time when they had to switch from one task to another. As tasks got more complex, participants lost more time. As a result, people took significantly longer to switch between more complex tasks. Time costs were also greater when the participants switched to tasks that were relatively unfamiliar. They got up to speed faster when they switched to tasks they knew better.” (American Psychological Association, 2006)
Help Teachers doing Both
The cost of switching between online and face-to-face modalities is prohibitive. As possible, teachers should be dedicated to one modality. Observe a teacher switching between modalities; often when moving back to the more familiar face-to-face teachers experience some relief. Training can be offered for K-12 online teaching, but nothing can effectively help those doing both. The solution is to transition a teacher to fully one modality or the other, teachers should consider teaching two or more grade levels if that accommodation results in all one modality.
Look for additional ways to help teachers this year. They are tired and they have so far to go still.
Long, C. (2020). Returning Safely to In-Person Instruction: What Educators Need to Know. NEA. https://www.nea.org/advocating-for-change/new-from-nea/returning-safely-person-instruction-what-educators-need-know.
Multitasking: Switching costs. (2006, March 20). https://www.apa.org/research/action/multitask
Will, M. (2020, August 28). Deemed ‘Essential Workers,’ Some Teachers Told to Skip Quarantine After COVID-19 Exposure. Education Week. https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2020/08/21/deemed-essential-workers-some-teachers-told-to.html.