Helping teachers recover their efficacy
WE ARE living through a pandemic that most of us could never have imagined. The drastic changes brought about by the health crisis has caused high levels of stress to many. In education, the shift to remote teaching has put new demands from teachers in curriculum reconstruction and teaching content designs. In the traditional classroom, a teacher acts as an instructor and a guide but this role of the teacher has incredibly changed at present. A teacher is now no longer acting just as an instructor but as a content developer and a designer of online curriculums.
Despite experiencing a range of challenges and issues, teachers are trying their best to make education worthwhile. However, placing expectations upon expectations upon expectations of teachers is not helping them at all. Teachers are for uninterrupted learning, but we are no distance-learning experts. Teachers are concerned about effectively engaging students through remote learning. Support and understanding can help. Scrutiny during this time when teachers’ struggles are observed is not very effective in helping teachers recover their efficacy.
In this time of crisis, it is not about how many teachers follow directions, but how many of them are good at engaging in effective collaboration. These times require us to focus on resources, build capacity, and create the right policy climate with accountability measures designed to encourage and facilitate innovation and development, rather than compliance.
The chronic unpredictability of this pandemic wears on teachers' nervous systems. When they don’t get the proper support they need, and especially when sustained job demands are high, teachers experience chronic stress—and eventually burnout. If we just hope for the best, more and more teachers will fall by the wayside. Effective responses in education are dependent upon teachers as the core personnel of the education sector. In order to ensure that our children get the best education possible, supporting teachers and listening to their voices will be important. When we do so, we also take care of the students.
What this crisis brings perhaps most to the forefront is the need for effective collaboration. Let’s accept that these are initial periods of uncertainty and exhaustion There is chaos on a macro, institutional level, and chaos on an individual level for schools and communities. But given teachers’ proven dedication and commitment to their profession and to the children who rely on them, we can always count on them as the backbone of education. But we also check with them to understand what additional resources they need and prioritize them.
These times require us to focus on resources, build capacity, and create the right policy climate with accountability measures designed to encourage and facilitate innovation and development, rather than compliance.