This year, Teacher’s Appreciation Week runs from May 4 to May 8, but rather than being in the classroom, most teachers will be at home, navigating their calling outside the classroom.
When the coronavirus hit the United States, officials quickly decided to shut schools to stop the spread of the virus. At first the closures were temporary or extensions of spring break, but as the virus became more serious, many schools extended their closures indefinitely.
At the time of writing, 31 states and the District of Columbia have decided to keep schools closed through the end of the year. During these closures, teachers deserve an extra dose of appreciation for everything they are doing.
So that they can continue to educate their students, many teachers have taken to teaching online. They have embraced new technology and found ways to communicate with their students outside a traditional classroom. Depending on the school, the grade, and numerous other factors, teachers and administrators have engaged multiple different methods to continue educating their students. While some are simply mailing paper packets of assignments to their students, others are meeting on Zoom or other online communication platforms.
Handling New Challenges from Students
In addition to dealing with new technology or trying to bridge the digital gap, teachers are also handling new challenges from students. Young students, in particular, aren’t used to studying online. They also aren’t accustomed to studying while all the distractions of home (video games, siblings, pets, toys, etc.) are right at their fingertips, but teachers are working hard to keep them on track.
Reaching Out to Students Personally
Teachers don’t just focus on education. In a lot of cases, they foster personal relationships with their students and help them with the trials of growing up. Many teachers have continued this role even in the midst of school closures.
They have reached out to students personally to ensure they have the technology needed for distance learning. They have worked with the schools to set up programs to help feed students who rely on the free breakfasts and lunches offered by many schools. And they’ve counseled students on the stress of living through a pandemic.
Juggling Their Own Personal Lives
While educating the nation’s 56.6 million school-aged children from home, teachers also have to deal with their personal lives. Many have their own children at home, and while teaching classes online, they have to help their children navigate the challenges of distance learning. Others are dealing with spouses who are no longer working or other financial issues related to the coronavirus. At the same time, some are dealing with personal health issues or ill family members. But they continue to juggle their personal struggles with their commitment to education.
For teacher’s appreciation week this year, reach out to your favorite teacher, and find a way to tell them thank you. They deserve it now more than ever.
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