1. Line up learning resources
Having a library of educational resources at hand is the most effective strategy any teacher can adopt into their teaching process and in their classroom.
Habiel Adams, a business studies teacher at Christel House, noted how important planning is for teachers during uncertain times. “As cliché as it seems, effective planning is at the core of adequate curriculum management. Keep abreast of curriculum changes and familiarise yourself with the content of the exam guidelines and SBA requirements for your subject,” said Adams.
2. Draw up a plan for 2021
In uncertain times like these, staying on top of what you can control will settle the nerves and put you in good stead for a successful year, whether in the classroom or online. Teachers may not have control over where their learners are, but they do have control over how learners access all the relevant information needed to complete the curriculum.
Jenny Campbell, mathematics author and publisher at TAS, suggested that each teacher “start by listing [their] teaching goals and objectives. These might be personal and will differ from teacher to teacher and from subject to subject.” By taking the time to map out the year and set short- and long-term personal milestones, teachers can create a sense of control over the outcomes of the year ahead.
Put together an emergency plan to manage situations that are uncertain at this stage, like how to prepare learners for online learning, an action plan for staggered school days, or completing outstanding work from last year.
3. Embrace the power of empathy
By living with the pandemic, everyone has realised that empathy and human kindness are essential to deal with the social effects of lockdowns. Conceptualise a classroom management plan that will foster a supportive, caring atmosphere in the classroom.
Discuss the plan with your students and brainstorm ways to build a learning environment based on support. Encourage learners to share their experiences of lockdowns thus far and facilitate a group feedback session to discuss key takeaways and learnings.
Lead by example and treat learners with respect and kindness. Be aware of behavioural changes and social cues that may indicate that a learner is struggling with anxiety or emotional setbacks.
4. Be flexible – you never know what is coming your way!
The 2021 school year is unlikely to follow a typical curriculum structure and mixed learning approaches will continue to be utilised.
Ensure that you stay prepared for unplanned changes to the school year or curriculum plan. Teachers will continue, as always, to play an integral role in the success of their learners’ school careers.
Having a collection of resources to draw from in uncertain times and creating a sense of routine with lesson plans, will allow teachers to motivate learners to take responsibility for their studies.
5. Lean on colleagues
Your colleagues understand more than anyone the daily challenges and setbacks that come with teaching during Covid-19. There is strength in numbers, so lean on your colleagues and form a support system.
Just as you would in the classroom by following a classroom management plan, discuss possible scenarios and solutions with your support group.
Adams suggested forming communities of collaborative learning best practices, “where collective SBAs can be created, shared and disseminated between participating neighbouring schools or schools in your district. In this way, the workload can be reduced significantly and insight can be gained into how different colleagues create assessment material.”
6. Be confident
Show up every day for your learners and cultivate a learning environment that is based on positivity, energy and confidence. In times of uncertainty, learners will look to their teachers for guidance and assurance.
Be honest and upfront with your learners about the unfolding situation and offer possible solutions that your learners can be involved in, such as running a morning routine of check-in calls with small groups and setting daily priorities. Lead by example – and lead with confidence.
7. Be kind to yourself
Uncertainty is overwhelming and even though teachers soldier on for the sake of their learners, you are not immune to burnout and anxiety.
To ensure you function at your best during school hours as well as after school, book time in your calendar to relax, get exercise and look after yourself. Tune out of school mode for a few hours a day by setting boundaries and making time for activities you enjoy beyond the classroom.
“With the first term kicking off, we recommend a learning strategy to set up for a successful year, no matter how the learning process takes shape. Take a deep breath and remember, if you can’t control the current of the river, you might as well go with the flow,” concluded Eadie.
About The Answer Series:
In 1975, Anne Eadie, a brilliant young maths teacher, poured all of her knowledge into the very first Answer Series study guide. Since then, The Answer Series has continued to create up-to-date, comprehensive study guides and now covers all major subjects from grade eight to 12.
They are written and frequently updated by teachers, examiners and subject specialists. Each of The Answer Series study guides includes stimulating exercises and easy-to-understand explanatory notes and can be used either independently by learners, or by teachers in the classroom.
(SOURCE: THE LOWVELDER)