Celebrating Educators

Guest post by Debbie Tannenbaum, @TannenbaumTech, author and tech coach

It seems hard to believe that the school year is almost over. This school year is a definite example of the longest school year that went by super quickly. Educators have been pushed to their limits this year. We have been asked to teach in ways that we probably didn’t know existed two years ago. We have been asked to pivot constantly and felt like ping pong balls as we switched from one teaching mode to another and then asked to combine modes. With all the talk about “learning loss” and the need for “summer programs to catch students up,” I feel that we are missing something vital, something that needs to be celebrated- our educators.

Educators demonstrated extreme levels of dedication.

This past year, being an educator was HARD! After being thrown into emergency remote teaching is March of 2020. Educators were once again asked to pivot as we began the 2020-2021 school year. In many places, that meant either hybrid or virtual instruction. I am amazed by the levels of dedication that educators everywhere demonstrated as they began the school year. In my school, I was so proud to see so many educators take time out of their summers to attend summer learning opportunities in August. In my 8/9/2020: Summer “Professional Development” blog post, I shared about this experience. But what amazed me even more was how educators took those lessons and applied them into their classrooms. Check out my 1/9/2021: Pear Deck to the Rescue blog post on the fantastic ways educators used Pear Deck during virtual learning at my school.

Educators were resilient and persevered through difficult situations.

If you ask most educators what word they would use to describe the 2020-2021 school year, pivot would definitely be one of the first words that came to mind. In many places, educators were asked to pivot continuously this school year, In my school district, that meant starting with virtual instruction, then pivoting to concurrent instruction. In other places, these changes happened even more frequently. Educators were asked to change the way they instructed students quickly and that was not easy. Not only that, but many educators were asked to teach concurrently- teaching face to face students at the same time as virtual students. Yes, educators are TIRED, there is no denying that. But we need to give educators credit for how resilient they were and how they persevered through very difficult situations.

Educators embraced risk and a growth mindset.

In my twenty-one years in education, I have never seen so much learning and innovation happen in one school year. Some may call it forced innovation, but I look at it, as dedicated innovation. Educators were so dedicated to helping their students learn that they went past their fear and tried new things. They embraced risk and modeled a growth mindset for their students. They weren’t afraid to “make mistakes,” and shared that with their students. If only we can carry this dedicated innovation and less emphasis on judgment into the coming school years, that would be amazing!

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