Weekly Coaching Roundup: Transitioning Back to the Classroom Post-COVID

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2021-02 Roundup Header - Post-COVID

The sudden shift to remote learning was a difficult transition for many educators. Similarly, the change back to in-person learning brings its challenges, too. Read on to learn how some of your peers successfully transitioned back to the classroom and a few traits they brought with them. πŸ‘©β€πŸ«

Strategies for Efficient Planning

Kathryn Nieves provides five ways teachers can avoid reinventing the wheel each time they bounce between virtual and in-person learning.

" Although my district had planned for in-person instruction, I designed all my content for engaging virtual instruction. The benefit of this plan is that the materials can be used regardless of the chosen setting. Students working in hybrid groups can still use the digital tools I created. In the future, when we return to traditional schooling, those digital materials will still have a purpose. Technology is not going away, so having those resources already created in a digital format can ensure use in future years. By creating everything with the idea that it would be used asynchronously or virtually by the students, I saved myself a lot of time."

Coming Back

Fiona Hurtado encourages ICs to focus on "bright spots" with teachers who are running on empty, especially when returning from adversity (COVID-19).

" Things seem more complex for teachers. They are juggling new daily schedules, new duties, holding down a sense of normality while maintaining social distance and keeping masks in place. They are continuing to provide home learning engagements for students who cannot be in the classroom and bringing them in virtually whenever they can. . . . Focusing on the bright spots - be they values, reflections, or the actions of others - might just help us to grow in this next stage of our COVID-19 experience."

How to Teach New Classroom Routines

Amanda Morin and Trynia Kaufman encourage educators to use evidence-based methods when rolling out new systems and procedures.

"Even under the best of circumstances, following a routine requires strong executive functioning. Many students who learn and think differently may find these skills challenging, including organization and planning, remembering multi-step directions, and staying on task without getting distracted. . . . It's important to let students know the "why" behind the routine. Is it for safety purposes? Is it a way to keep everybody organized? When students know why they're doing a routine, it can help them feel like they have some control over keeping themselves and their classmates safe and supported."

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A Teacher's Perspective

Karen Caswell reflects on her experience using the "start, repeat, and delete" method for reflecting on what worked well while teaching from afar and what to keep when welcoming students back in-person.

" We continued using our Daily Well-being Check-In. Even though we greet students at the door and can gain insight into their mood upon arriving at school, the check in has provided a way to monitor their readiness for learning. It encourages students to be more mindful, aware and reflective of how they are going."

Pandemic Lessons

Larry Ferlazzo asked a few educators what their focus areas are when they return to teaching post-covid restrictions.

" At our school, we have been implementing more meetings to hear what teachers have to say about the daily educating experience. If any administrator wants to know how effective education policy really is, listen to the teachers. I have learned that educators are not shy about letting the administration know what works and what doesn’t. We provide a forum for teachers to talk amongst themselves that is led by head teachers. This way, educators feel comfortable sharing experiences while building a strong teacher community. . . . Teachers have provided invaluable suggestions for improving our online teaching effectiveness."

Distance Learning Keepers

Sarah Cooper shares six engaging tactics from remote learning that she plans to use when returning to the classroom.

"Back in the physical classroom, I'd like to carry my laptop around more often so that I'm not simply looking over their shoulders, but also engaging with them by making written comments in real time that they can follow up on later. Screen sharing has been invaluable for helping students investigate whether a source is valid or find citation information. It's also helped me navigate tech questions, such as how to move a file into a Google Drive folder. Even in a regular classroom, I could take more time to walk individual groups through processes like these."

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