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During COVID19 Words of Advice to New Teachers
William Jackson, M.Ed.
Educational Professional for 32 years
Speaker, Volunteer, Organizer, Blogger
Teacher for WordCamp and KidsCamp conferences
United States, Canada, Central America, Africa
There are always blessings for learning no matter what
situations and circumstances you are in as an educator.
We are taught to look for learning opportunities all
around us to share with our students and engage them
in seeing how wonderful all learning is. How knowledge
can build on itself and allow our eyes, ears and senses
to embrace our environments to inspire our passion for
Every child, every child has the right to receive an
education to that prepares them to be the future
leaders, creatives, innovators, dreamers and thought
leaders the world will need. As can be seen with COVID19
medical professionals, educators, artists, innovators
and others that are thought leaders and dreamers their
skills are needed to save lives.
Transitioning to online educators and digital creators
of educational content teachers have to look past the
perceived limits of teaching online and discover
the opportunities to embrace and integrate learning on
multiple digital platforms, even in-person learning look
to the potential in your teaching to save lives through
Using our educational content to fit on digital
devices from phones (android or apple), to tablets,
to laptops, to desktops to even watches. Our content
must be able to go anywhere to provide learning.
Using Slack, TEAMS, YouTube, Zoom and other software
flexibility is important because our students still
learn differently and seek our guidance, love, discipline
and knowledge to overcome multiple challenges. Do not
assume your students get this at home, they look to
teachers to save the world and to keep them safe. This is
a fact so understand your responsibility as a professional.
We knew online learning this was coming!! From all the
studies, the research, the workshops, the seminars
there was always the knowledge that traditional educational
methods would be forever changed and teaching would
move more and more to digital platforms. We were just
slow embracing this in public education. Colleges and
universities in many cases already were implementing
online and distance learning models. Things in public
education are sometimes slow to adapt and implement
change. Sometimes they are thrown at us by others in
leadership that have political agendas, unrealistic ideas
of what really happens in a classroom and use education
as their political scape-goat and platform for self-deprication.
Even in SciFi programs like Star Trek, Deep Space Nine
and others we would see glimpses of learning by children,
teens and even adults learning on devices. Technology has
shown us another way to reach our children, our youth,
our teens and young adults. Parents must buy into this as
well or there will be struggles and challenges. Teachers
must educate students, parents and families to the values
multiple ways of learning and student engagement.
The movie The Matrix had direct cerebral connections
where Neo and Trinity would request an “upload” and
they would learn a new skill and new knowledge to
perform a task. These concepts are not too far away
because if we see it in a movie or on television there is
ongoing research to make this a reality. The consideration
must be though of just because we can (potentially)
do this should we?
Life and education go hand in hand. There is always
change and teachers need to be able to adapt not just
to the environmental situations of their classrooms,
but adapt to the emotional and psychological changes
happening to their students. Many school districts have
provided Mental Health Training to teachers already, but
the challenges of isolation, social distancing and
lack of diverse human contact will be felt when schools
return to traditional learning patterns. Teachers must
be ready to meet their students needs and even their
There will be psychological scars, emotional damages,
mental disconnections and slight learning delays so
differentiated instruction and other strategies will have
to be used. Teachers do not have all the answers to
servicing their students, they are not Superman or
Superwoman, know your limits as well and seek help
Unfortunately school administrations are different, so
be sure to have a teacher(s) to talk to, vent to, confide
in and bounce ideas off of. Have access to mental
counselors for yourself and even family counselors so
your professional stresses will not dramatically affect
your household and family responsibilities.
New teachers should stay encouraged in their profession
and understand that even in an online environment they
are still making a difference. Use these opportunities to
continue to reach out to your students and embrace their
minds with the great potential for learning online.
This is not a setback, but a setup for their future as
digital teachers in multi-faceted and learning opportunities
that will assist new teachers in building Professional
and Personal Learning Communities and Networks.
Students now see that many of them will be working from
home, they will be engaged in collaborative learning,
they will see the diversity of learning with other
students of different genders, ideologies, religious
beliefs, socio-economic backgrounds and with wealth
of having or the struggles of not having.
Education is one of, if not the only career where teachers
teach all students with love, respect, impartiality,
acceptance of diversity and a blindness to the lack
of what all children should have, but do not have. The
family structure is not perfect, nothing in life is, but our
actions, decisions, successes and even failures define
us and either help us grow if we allow it, or if we chose
to drown ourselves in our defeats.
The works of new teachers is important because their
energies are important to keep up with energetic youth.
New teachers are needed as seasoned teachers share their
knowledge with them as they retire. New teachers are needed
so that they can see the struggles of their peer parents that
are parenting new generations of children and support parents
with knowledge and resources. New teachers are needed because
they are better to understand students that are closer to them
in age, gender and generation.
Even during times such as these it is always important
to understand that we are not experts in everything,
but collectively as educational professionals we have
access to phenomenal knowledge that we all share together
to make us better educators. Motivating us to be better
mentors for our students and even their families.
We influence more families now because parents, children,
families and the community are looking for our leadership
for a bit of normalcy and stability. Teachers are a
foundation of knowledge that will help all our students
and even influence the growth and embracing of families
to the value and importance of education for the whole
family not just one or two children. There was a time
that educators where held in high praise and esteem,
maybe these situations will build teachers back up to
past levels and respect and education will gain new
levels of dignity.
Teachers have become part of all our students families
because we are involve in text chats, video chats, YouTube
videos. Sharing knowledge from our own personal experiences.
COVID19 has demanded that we work together to support
educational innovators that will potentially continue
to teach online or have hybrid classes in the future.
New teachers are primed for the future of educational
change, adaptation, revolution and evolution to service
the changes COVID19 has thrust upon us. I encourage
new teachers to grow in your passions to make a difference
in your communities, your cities and your chosen careers.
You do make a difference in each of your students lives.
Embrace new technologies that inspire student
engagement. Learn about the effective use of
TEAMS, take professional development courses
that prepare you for the future. Join groups that
support your growth, your learning and maturity
as a professional. Document each day successes,
challenges and even perceived failure.
Join the PTA, the teachers union and other groups
that support your efforts of building a foundation
for the future.
Think about financial security and create a savings
plan and retirement plan. Prepare as much as
possible for all your opportunities for a wonderful
future as a teacher.
Always remember to have a mentor(s) teacher to
learn from and grow from. The future is yours to
create. After 33 years I still love being a professional
educator that is engaged in my community, my
neighborhood, my city and even on international