Check on the Teachers!
During this COVID-19 season, it is imperative that school leaders and administrators check on their teachers. Our schools are doing an amazing job making sure students and families are okay, and that their needs are being met, as they should; but how many have thought about how their teachers feel? What are their needs? Their routines have been disrupted as well. They have anxiety. They have stress. They have concerns.
Heidi Welch, Ph.D. of Castleton University makes an excellent case on Education Post
as to why it is necessary to check in on the well-being of teachers, who are on the front-lines of ensuring that somehow students still receive a quality education in the midst of this Coronavirus pandemic. Teachers are worried about their students, but many are also worried about their own families as well. With colleges and universities closing and going to online instruction, many teachers have children who were impacted by this. If they have children who are in the K-12 educational system, then they have to manage their e-learning experiences as well. Food insecurity, being on lock-down, and the threat of catching the virus themselves adds additional layers of stress.
With school administrators attempting to put accountability measures in place to ensure that teachers are actually "working from home", teachers have to worry about whether their students have the technology and support necessary at home to hold students "accountable" for their assignments. Not to mention that teachers were given very little time to prepare for a complete and total overhaul of their method of instruction. While many teachers are comfortable with technology, there are a great many who are not. And yet, at the flip of a switch, a flawless integration of educational technology was expected. Teachers being the resilient and magnificent beings they are, for the most part, were able to pull it off. But teachers are also human, with very human needs. They need people who know this supporting them and checking in on them.
School leaders and administrators should make it their mission to do weekly check-ins with their instructional staff. Wellness checks, not just business-as-usual calls/chats/meetings. These check-ins need to be genuine, and from a place of care and basic human compassion. Teachers need their buckets filled, so they in turn, can continue to fill the buckets of their students and families.