What about the teachers who stayed?


Updated 10/17/22

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To the teachers who have stayed: we thank you—plus tips for teaching "in the now"

It’s no secret teachers are burned out and leaving the profession. Post-COVID, a thankless system, burnout, and money are a few of the reasons former teachers have cited as their motives for leaving a career they once had a burning passion for.

While the spotlight is on these teachers and the shortage unveiling itself as a result, this spotlight needs shared. The obvious importance of this shortage and its effects has gained awareness, but what about the needs and appreciation of the teachers that have stayed?
 

The effects of the shortage on those that stay

We are in a national crisis. Teachers are leaving, and no one is replacing them—and not just because they don’t want to. New teachers entering the field are diminishing as fast as veteran teachers are leaving the field. Beyond this reality is that of the teachers remaining in the field.

To these remaining teachers, the school culture is entirely different. What once was, is no more. Administration may be different, teachers may be changing roles or leaving positions altogether, and the ways to teach or allow students to learn have morphed.

To these remaining teachers, they’ve lost not only coworkers, but friends.

These remaining teachers are holding the school on their shoulders, as the veteran teachers who fulfill their duties and the extra duties the shortage has added.

These teachers are trying to take care of their own mental health, while focusing on the mental health of their students.

These teachers are teaching students how to cope with their emotions and providing stability in an environment that is fragile.

Knowing the weight of this reality, these teachers need the credit and acknowledgement they deserve.
 

Thank you to those that stay

With the burden on teachers’ shoulders even larger, it is not only important to remember the teachers that stayed, but to shine the spotlight on them as well.

Thank you to the teachers who have stayed when their worlds have been flipped upside down. Thank you to the teachers who have stayed in spite of their hurting hearts. Thank you to the teachers who have stayed solely for the students needing them. Thank you to the teachers who stayed, despite feeling unappreciated. Thank you to the teachers that have stayed while navigating the new world education has become.

Teaching is a calling, and teachers truly are changing the world one child at a time: thank you to the teachers who have stayed.
 

Tips for teaching “in the now”

Bringing awareness to the state of education and thanking the teachers who have stayed in the field is vital, but moreover, supporting the teachers who continue to teach in the post-COVID, national crisis environment is essential. Here are tips for teaching “in the now” from current teachers:

  • Build connections and cultivate those connections. Establishing relationships with and truly knowing your students makes a huge difference in their social, emotional, and academic well-being. In a post-COVID classroom, the needs of children, though different, are all alike in needing that connection. Some students may have been in emotional and mental turmoil as a result of being isolated or in difficult domestic situations for so long. Some students may struggle with anxiety related to the virus. Some students may have fallen behind significantly, dubbed the COVID slide or COVID learning gap. You will only be aware of these needs if you have meaningful conversations with your students, and those conversations will only happen after connections and relationships have been made. Students must know that you not only care about their academics, but you truly care about their mental and emotional state as well.
  • Focus on social-emotional learning and include lessons and activities that weave these into the day. Take the opportunity to help students navigate their emotions and different situations as they unfold.
  • Take care of yourself! Yes, the students have suffered because of the pandemic, and centering that suffering they have endured is important, but so is centering the suffering you have endured. The burden is higher than ever, but your value is even more than that. Remember your value, even if you think no one sees it, there are people that do. You are important.
  • Embrace the change. Education has changed, and it is not going to be the same as it once was, nor should it be. Welcome these changes, but don’t feel you need to do everything all at once. Take it in strides, and change things as you see fit. Only you know your classroom, your students and their needs. While technology has imploded into classrooms and helped change learning, it does not mean it has to be the only way to teach.

Originally posted 2022




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