In the fallout of the ongoing global pandemic of coronavirus (COVID-19), many districts have temporarily closed schools. This, of course, is in an attempt to stop the spread of the illness. The vast majority of these schools are telling their teachers to stay home as well. Even though these school closures come as the result of a pandemic, it’s probably tempting for some teachers to think of this as a break. This is the wrong attitude.
Yes, the coming weeks are probably going to entail a lighter workload. Yes, it is understandable to be a little relieved to get a break. However, it’s important to remember that teachers still have a responsibility to their students. As most of them are still getting paid during this time, here are some recommendations for teachers while schools are closed.
- Take e-learning days seriously
First and foremost, teachers need to do the best they can with whatever method of instruction they still have. For most schools it is e-learning. It is no secret that many teachers do not take e-learning seriously. After all, they are normally only used for snow days, but this is different. Students are going to miss at least half a month of school. Not only are they missing instruction they were supposed to receive during that time but they may also be out of practice with the skills they already learned before they left by the time they return.
In light of this, teachers need to do the best they can to keep students busy during this time with purposeful instruction and practice.
- Adjust your pacing guide and lessons
After extended snow breaks teachers often come back and lament how their pacing guide is thrown off and look to administrators for help or sympathy. As an instructional leader, if you have an extended amount of time off from school to the point that it affects your pacing guide, you should have already used that same time to update it. There will be a little less than two months left of school for most students when they return. None of that time, when teachers return, should be wasted updating plans that teachers had three weeks to think about.
- Internalize student data
Assuming standardized testing isn’t canceled, schools will still be held accountable for their students’ progress. Take this time to look over students’ quizzes and tests to get an accurate picture of where they stand. With all the time that will be lost, teachers likely won’t have time to teach and remediate everything that is needed. Knowing the data front and back will allow for more targeted interventions.
- Catch up on grading
This should go without saying. There is no excuse to come back to school with a pile of ungraded papers.
This pandemic is serious, and everyone needs to take their role seriously in order to get through it. It is unfortunate that students will lose so much instructional time but there are actions teachers can take to mitigate the indirect negative impact of COVID-19, and they now have the time to do it.