Skills for Teachers Dealing with Uncertainty

The ideal unified classroom might not occur in one space but can instead take the form of different learning environments, facilitated through a combination of parents and educators.

Formative
Editorial Team
July 26, 2022
Topic

In these uncertain times, teachers can feel at a loss for how to maintain effective pedagogy. The ideal unified classroom might not occur in one space but can instead take the form of many different learning environments, facilitated through a combination of parents and educators. That situation allows for enough significant figures that can disrupt the traditional learning process.

Whether you're navigating the realities of the Covid-19 pandemic or adjusting to a blended classroom situation, Formative is ready to help teachers adapt to the challenges of a changing world. We’ve prepared a list of skills designed to prepare the whole educator: effective teaching requires preparation both inside and outside the classroom, not just in the gradebook.

Manage What You Can Manage: when the world feels overwhelming, it’s important to remember not everything is your responsibility. Try to focus only on what you can manage within your classroom spaces, no matter if that’s virtual or in-person.

  1. Set clear limits on the workday. Whenever possible, keep to a set schedule that begins and ends within an exact time. Time management like this creates consistency for your students and prevents you from overworking.
  2. Prepare in advance: to suit the needs of an unpredictable school situation, don’t limit yourself to one type of lesson plan. Take into consideration whether or not you’ll need to add activities for students if they’re in the classroom or choosing to learn from home through e-school or a pod. Designing alternate activities in advance won’t just prepare you for the unexpected - it also helps suit different learning types among your students!
  3. Remember that your time is limited, and you can’t take on infinite responsibilities. When you start feeling overwhelmed with too much work, talk to those around you; let them know that your schedule is already full, and that you won’t be able to take care of everything at the same time.
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Join Formative, Modern Classroom and a special guest educator from Hosford Middle School for an interactive, free webinar!

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Using Formative in the Modern Classroom

Join Formative, Modern Classroom and a special guest educator from Hosford Middle School for an interactive, free webinar!

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Take Care of Yourself: during uncertain times, everyone can feel less assured, making it easy to become overwhelmed and scared. When you practice self-care, you give yourself the tools to face the challenges of the workday as well as the emotional and physical needs that come with being a human.

  1. Maintain hobbies. Although it’s great to love what you do for a living, having interests outside the workplace helps teachers secure a clearer work/life balance. Whether you write creatively, paint, rock climb, or register at your weekly trivia night, your social skills and life skills act as an outlet for all the things that make you special!
  2. Schedule time for activities. Some people jog; some cycle; some play ultimate frisbee; but anything that boosts your heart rate cuts back on stress and anxiety. Do not feel like your activities need to be too extreme - your mental health is just as important! Try practicing meditation or doing breathing exercises while seated. 
  3. Ask for help. We are all in this together, and we do our best work when we work together. If you’re facing a worst-case scenario, reach out to those who can help. That might include family, friends, trusted coworkers, or any number of online resources designed to offer counsel and support.

Model a Sensible Learning Space: as you ready yourself to face life’s challenges, you’ll have a better sense of what your students need. Don’t just rely on what’s in your course syllabus: the following actions profile compassionate, thoughtful classroom behaviors that maximize your skills and support your students.

  1. Communication is key. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, chances are that your students feel the same way. Acknowledge their feelings and concerns, and devote course time to working through these matters when appropriate. For older students, doing so might take the form of a group discussion or forum; for their younger classmates, either visual aids or creative exercises (like roleplaying or storytelling) can be a superlative tool when encouraging active, positive dialogue.
  2. Practice empathy. Treat empathetic, social-emotional learning connections with students as best practices in your classrooms. You might set aside part of every class to see how your students are feeling, or you might begin a lesson with a quick, ungraded “icebreaker” designed to get your students to have fun. These kinds of interventions help teachers stay connected to their students’ emotional realms.
  3. Trust the experts. Especially during a time like Covid, teachers should model the public-health recommendations of those tasked with keeping people safe. Such practices can include (but are not limited to) the following:
  • Promoting general vaccinations for the appropriate age groups as an effective means of reducing illness and increasing in-person learning. For any student not permitted or too young for certain vaccines (such as the Covid-19 vaccine), teachers can stress the importance of handwashing or covering one’s mouth when sneezing or coughing.
  • Masking indoors, particularly during times of potential contagion.
  • Maintaining at least three feet of space between one another when indoors.
  • Staying home when sick or at risk of illness as a means of protecting others.
  • Updating parents or guardians with classroom changes that may result from larger policy changes.

Uncertainty is never fun, but keeping these practices in mind increases the likelihood that you’ll keep yourself and your students healthy and ready to learn.

And remember: at Formative, we’ve got what educators need to make their teaching more effective and more flexible when facing a changing world. To learn more about our mission, head here for more information about our platform!

Additional Resources

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Promotion

We've Officially Partnered with Google Classroom

Formative is now part of Google Classroom’s new integration. Create, edit, and assign any formative without navigating back and forth between platforms!

Learn More

We've Officially Partnered with Google Classroom

Formative is now part of Google Classroom’s new integration. Create, edit, and assign any formative without navigating back and forth between platforms!

Learn More