Coronavirus has created tons of problems all around the world. This pandemic has forced people to come up with solutions to new problems. However, mostly what it has done is exacerbate existing problems and gaps that were never addressed. This is most noticeable around issues like inequality and the digital divide. In education, COVID-19 has exposed skill gaps among the students but also among the teachers. The latter has become unacceptable.
We all know those teachers in our schools:
The ones who refuse to adopt even the most practical forms of technology.
The ones whose computer is always “broke.”
The ones that turn things in on hard copy because they can’t be bothered to learn the new platform the school is using.
These educators are the ones that need to get their act together because that is untenable during remote learning.
It is understandable that some people would be more technologically inclined than others. If you have been teaching longer than three or four years, there are things that we use today that literally did not exist when you got into the game … but you have to learn.
Few jobs today bear any resemblance to what they looked like fifty years ago, but teaching is one of the few professions that hasn’t changed that much from year to year. That is one aspect that attracts many to the job. There have been advancements that could drastically change a classroom, but many teachers resist them. Schools typically accommodate those teachers. After all, a teacher that is pretty good at teaching with old-school methods and reluctant to use technology is typically no more than a minor inconvenience. However, we now find ourselves in a situation where school is literally digital, and some of those same teachers are using their lack of tech skills as an excuse to mail it in when they could have been learning all along.
This is not to call out teachers that legitimately struggle with new things. It’s calling out the mindset that made this transition more difficult than it had to be.
You are not entitled to a job that never changes. It is your responsibility to develop and hone skills for today’s environment. It is okay to have personal preferences but realize that you are sending students into a world where they may be expected to have the skills that you have been avoiding for years.
In the short-term, teachers need to learn the tech because school is online. In the long-term, they need to learn it because it is extremely hard to push students to a future they refuse to glimpse themselves.
Schools need to ensure teachers have the support and opportunity to develop their skills on any new technology or platform they use.