For well over a year now education policymakers have been grappling with the changes that the world-altering pandemic has brought upon us. When you are in the midst of an unprecedented crisis it is typically hard to see past the next few days, however, now the fog is starting to lift and the new school year is upon us, it is time to discuss what the future brings. Academic Coaching Specialists wants to provide support to educators in whatever capacity may be needed for their “fresh-from-the-fog” students. We’ve put together a list of the aftermath we think we might see as we head back to in-person learning.
It’s no secret that educators are overworked, and the pandemic was no exception. However, for many areas, two things the crisis did bolster was communication and collaboration between the administrators and the educators. The board and the teachers had to work together to come up with solutions to navigate though the darkness of the pandemic. Let us hope that one of the lessons we take from this, is that educators should always be able to use their voice to advocate for their students and the plans and decisions that are made for them.
Student Learning Loss
Not every student’s remote learning situation was ideal. Educational recovery from the pandemic must be about equity rather than equality. Whether the issue be internet access, a chaotic home life, or even just the inability to focus, students could find themselves anywhere from 4-12 months behind standard-age curricula.
ACS is ready to help. Students will thrive with our tailored services that help their learning, mental health, and psychosocial wellbeing. We want to support the learning loss recovery effort that educators already have in place as well as implement remedial learning practices to compliment it.
State and local budgets took a big hit from the pandemic. Educators are very familiar with their departments taking the brunt of the ramifications from the deficit. It will mean layoffs and fewer elective classes which, in turn, will mean bigger class sizes in a time when students need more help than ever and the depletion of electives that bring joy to students’ lives when the pandemic has been so dark.
Whether your district has been affected or not, the economic toll of the pandemic will be felt far into the future and educators will need support.
This past year has seen countless adjustments, seemingly insurmountable changes, and many heroes taking on the impossible. We can all agree that educators were all thrown into the fire and came out stronger, but not unscathed. Change in itself is a natural anxiety inducer; a change of this magnitude compounded by fear of infection, technical difficulties and previously uncharted territory is a recipe for psychological distress.
People that are drawn to a caring profession, like teaching, tend to neglect themselves in favor of others; this affects their mental health especially during times of great stress and change such as this. Thus we hope educators can come up with coping mechanisms for the school year and we hope that we at ACS can help lessen the load they are facing by supporting their efforts.
While there is obviously no substitute for in-person learning, we, as a whole, have discovered that not only is technology our friend, it is also a very useful tool that will likely be playing a more prominent role in education’s future. Teachers and administrators alike were forced to adapt and bend to the will of technology and this trial by fire method has helped teachers feel more confident with it. It in no way can replace an educator but it can enhance and enrich the way a student can study and learn.
Health & Safety
There is not a subject that has been more on the front burner this year than health and safety. Practicing good hygiene and mask wearing will continue to be stressed and enforced while we are still figuring out how severe the pandemic still is. School nurses will be more important than ever and will play a key role in the continued navigation of this crisis. One thing that the pandemic has made abundantly clear for many schools is that underfunding is no longer an option. It has forced a great decrease in air quality as many schools need new heating and air conditioning systems but lack to money to update or replace them.
Moving forward, as far as the impact on our children’s education: we do not know what the pandemic might bring. Educators will need support while they navigate this brave new world. ACS wants to help in any way we can. Recovering learning loss will be a significant part of the battle and our tailor-made program will not only support the lesson plans already in place, it will also give the students a chance to thrive. Coaches act as a liaison between the student and the teacher and we will always ensure an open dialog. Our coaching specialists are needed now more than ever and we are ready to support our area’s hard-working educators.