The global pandemic also required our teacher candidates and school communities to adjust their instructional model quickly. During asynchronous learning we learned that we still need to honor the fundamental fact that teaching and learning is a transactional relationship. Because no matter how well-prepared a lesson is, students' unique questions and perspectives will always occur in the moment. Teacher have realized that as wonderful as ZOOM or Microsoft Teams were in fostered community, the one-on-one classroom check-in was different. So, the old-fashioned phone call to the student became a powerful tool for many teachers; it allowed the teacher to have greater insight into their students' thinking. I think we've learned that a quality one-on-one connection is necessary to be part of a teacher's planning process.
My advice for teachers is to drop the phrase, this is easy. Students and families, stay in communication with your teacher."
Do you have any back-to-school advice for teachers, students, and families?
My advice for teachers is to drop the phrase, this is easy. Often teachers will say this to to students to ease their anxiety, but it often has the opposite effect. The student starts to think they are the only one who is struggling with the assignment the teacher just anointed as easy.
My advice for students and families: stay in communication with your teacher. If an assignment is not clear or there was not the time to complete the assignment, tell the teacher and don't fear repercussions. We are all learning new skills. Parents sometimes will say, “I did not want to complain about ....because it will be held against my child.” Teachers do notice the parents who are paying attention and providing feedback does helps them to perform better. Teachers also need to know from students and parents how they prefer to communicate. A student may prefer a private conversation with the teacher rather than a public conversation, in class, and some parents prefer a text message rather than a phone call, especially during working hours.
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Okhee Lee, professor of childhood education, is the recipient of the National Science Teaching Association's 2020 NSTA Distinguished Service to Science Education Award.