There is no question that teachers and educators are on the frontline of the Coronavirus pandemic. As they head to school each day they are at risk and many schools are operating with less trained staff with more to do, as they balance home learning and classroom learning timetables.
The abrupt shift to distance learning has changed what we need from our educators and schools and employers can actively look to make the most of their staff, including upskilling ancillary staff and retraining others, to help us all manage these unusual and support each other through the crisis. Everything in the world of education has changed but as a minimum we have to consider:
- Virtual readiness is an expectation of all schools in 2021.
- Health and safety protocols must be strictly adhered to and class sizes and availability of staff may be affected.
- Students have experienced trauma and will need supporting through this difficult time, it may impact their readiness to learn.
- Many staff and students will not be attending school.
With these points in mind, we’re looking at how schools can look at staffing and development to attempt to support and protect themselves during these difficult times.
Spot the Upskilling Opportunities in your School
Schools are not the most digitally forward-thinking spaces at the moment, but they have had to learn quick. Traditional competencies need to be looked at in the context of upskilling and how you can work with your staff to get them up to speed. You may have tech-savvy employees who can ensure classroom setups are camera friendly for example. Or you may look to your pastoral team to share their experience and training in children’s mental health for better support of all pupils.
Reskill to Instil New, Essential Competencies
Sending staff on training courses right now might be the last of your concerns but the right competencies really will matter the more time we spend offering distance and remote learning as standard. Reskilling within your workforce could mean taking advantage of the digital and social media skills of your receptionist and utilising these skills to help promote motivation and rapport amongst the kids who have to learn from home. Sessions on Zoom or Microsoft Teams between teachers can help to get them used to this new way of learning before they have to put themselves to their classes.
Be Understanding and Open
While there is pressure on schools to offer everything to their pupils, even when they’re learning from home, we have to remember to consider our teacher’s mental health and wellness too. Employers and school leaders need to be understanding and open, offer opportunities to train and upskill for the benefit of wider learning but don’t put even more pressure on an already highly pressurised environment.
We’re all working to ensure the Coronavirus pandemic draws to a close as soon as possible, while still maintaining a semblance of normality for our children. Schools and teachers are at the heart of this and we should be thankful for all that they’re doing and look to support them however we can.