We have found out that Work from home is not as easy as it appears to be. It means no set time for profession or domestic duties. In such a situation teachers are working harder than ever.
Teachers are creatures of habit and are adventurous as well. These two qualities have made teachers the unsung heroes of 2020. We have taken to remote teaching along with its many new and unique challenges. We had to adapt to the new and unprecedented situation with no prior planning and mental adjustment.
There can be no denying that the year 2020 has been a totally unprecedented one for the world over. We have all made changes and sacrifices in our daily lives. Coping with changing in both our working and private lives is extremely challenging. Just google "managing change" and see how many entries there are. I am very comfortable with my own teaching style which is authentic and vulnerable at the same time. I always try to tap into students’ likes and needs and adapt lessons and approaches to meet those likes and needs.
This year is indeed unprecedented; probably for the first time in history the whole world is facing the same challenges. For all teachers, it brought about a sudden swing from face-to-face in-class process to online teaching. Sure we can all use various platforms like Zoom, Skype, Face Time et cetera. But using them with our classes, for the duration of our over-loaded working day, presented new challenges practically overnight. Nobody warned us about the change, there were no transition time, let alone teacher training courses.
Professional development now
Professional development enables us to hone our skills and develop our knowledge. It encourages us to think critically about our practice and to learn about other ways to teach, as well as giving us a moment of pause to assess what we do, why and how.
This is probably the first time in known history that the whole planet finds itself under the same conditions, with every day bringing in unpredictable changes. None of us know which restrictions may descend on our heads tomorrow, what dire news we may hear, when and how this unnatural situation may end. We all miss the usual order of things; lots of us are cut off indefinitely from our nearest and dearest. Many adults lose their jobs. Families suffer. Children of all ages wander around confused.
Life in a small town has its own peculiarities. Add to that the fact that I have been working as a teacher at all levels for twenty five years, also as teacher trainer and consultant, and it becomes clear that all this gives me ample opportunities for hearing people’s opinions on many subjects without the need to even ask a question. Understandably education is one of the two most often mentioned topics at hand, the other being scientific research since I live in an academic research community.
The recent pandemic has fundamentally redefined the way we perceive the world, the way we live and the way we work. Suddenly, most people on the planet found themselves locked in their homes, trying to protect themselves from an invisible enemy. At the same time, abruptly and almost violently teachers got separated from their students, classes fell silent and everything moved to a virtual environment. The educational process was transformed and teachers found themselves forced to teach using online platforms and tools they were not familiar with in almost an instant.
Some people find the cats cute: which prompts names: "the Rag Doll, is a Californian cat with a Russian name – Byjeli". Then there is grammar: "We’ve had him for 5 years." Present Perfect – "And the Siamese, Timmy?" – "We’ve had him for 10". Some are intrigued by this, others less so. Others are curious that the teacher, the coach, has a real, living breathing wife, to be seen in the background, getting ready for work. Cue, again, Present Perfect: – "How long have you been married?" – "da da!"
When I check the news, automatically paying attention to every headline connected with education, I notice the same feature regardless of the country and subject taught. It is “teachers should/must…” Teachers should adapt to the new schedules, be ready to come back to school and then suddenly be sent home for an indefinite period of time. Even worse, teachers must be ready to provide “a combined way of learning”, that is conducting their lessons for some classes in real life, and then continue doing the same for other classes online.
COVID-19: New Challenges for Teacher Trainers.