Covid-19 Teaching Lessons from a Veteran Teacher

educators 2 educators helps teachers reignite their passion for teaching through a focus on mental health + professional development. If you enjoy this content, you can access our entire on-demand video library here. All e2e content is created for teachers, by teachers.


Let me begin by saying that I’ve seen a lot over my 14 years of teaching. I’ve worked with hundreds of children, problem-solved countless situations, and been through so many initiatives that I’ve lost count. I was almost to the point of being able to say “I’ve seen it all!” 

Then, COVID-19 came along and turned schools (and the whole country) upside down. Myself, along with all the teachers of the nation, entered a season that none of us could have ever imagined, nor ever seen before.

Now that the last day of school is approaching, I often do my annual reflecting on the school year. This reflection is like no other before it, obviously.  I taught during a pandemic! Even just typing that feels crazy and surreal.  But, even though the situation may have been unique, the reflection process is still the same. I always ask myself 3 questions: What worked? What did I learn? What advice do I have for myself for the fall?

What worked?

One of the best things that I did for myself was to limit my news and social media. It was honestly making me nuts. I limited my daily news to about 15 minutes per day so that I wouldn’t be totally in the dark about events happening. I also limited my social media accounts because I would see different teachers with these elaborate distance learning classrooms and live lessons and over the top teaching right away. It was really stressing me out- so I stopped looking. I stopped comparing myself to them. I stopped beating myself up for not following what all the others seemed to be doing. I pumped the brakes, and that saved my mental health. 

What did I learn?

I need to keep the big picture in mind and shut out all the “noise” around me. What is important to me in the classroom is STILL important to me outside of it. I really thought about what I valued as a teacher. Then, I realized that those things are STILL important to me whether I was teaching in person or virtually. The core of who I am as an educator didn’t need to change just because the scenery is different. I value engagement, relationships, and joy of learning. Once I was able to really focus on my core values as an educator, I was easily able to settle in and focus on what I was wanting to do. I wasn’t getting distracted by the media, the newest app, or the whirlwind of sudden district directives. 

What advice do I have for myself for the fall?

    1. Keep a routine as much as possible. I teach second grade. My students are somewhat savvy with technology, but they need repetition with what they are doing. If you do a morning meeting,  reading in the morning, and math in the afternoons in school, then stick with that virtually. Keep virtual meetings at expected days and times. 
    2. Stick with one main platform and get really good at it. My platform of choice for next year will be Seesaw. I have been learning all that I can about the different ways to use this platform. If you haven’t used it, I highly encourage you to check it out!
    3. Give yourself grace! Teaching during a pandemic is not ever something you are prepared for. No one knows what it is supposed to look like or how to do it “the right way”. Give yourself grace because you ARE doing your best.

Less is more and relationships are ALWAYS the most important.

Use Google and YouTube A LOT to learn things. Don’t be afraid to say when you don’t know how to do something! Either ask someone or search for the answer on the internet. It’s crazy what you’ll find. 

 Listen to Joanna on the educators 2 educators podcast!

 

 

 

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