My friend, Leslie Hainrihar Chretien is always busy digging into topics that Palanca Leadership can examine with early career teachers and offer support.
This summer, she came upon a relevant book by Elena Aguilar called “Onward”. She pitched the idea of doing a series of twitter and zoom professional development sessions based on this books suggested Building 12 Steps of Emotional Resilience.
We formed subcommittee of a retired superintendent, a current 10+year educator, a brand new first year teacher, and me. We worked on how we could offer bite sized PD to already over worked teachers who were tasked with resilient teaching in a big way due to the Coronavirus Pandemic. Many parents find themselves in the position of teaching at home with virtual tools. I hope parents will tune in too.
So, I believe it is safe to say that in America, there is an all-encompassing effect to be resilient right now and to recognize that we are all in this as a new teacher would be. Many of us find ourselves unprepared for teaching that undoes all your strategies of collaboration and almost takes us back to the One Room Schoolhouse of individualized instruction. We are all in uncharted territory and learning on the fly to teach in a virtual or hybrid way, all the while trying to keep students and staff safe while the virus continues to rage around us.
A new friend of mine from Colorado was told at the first week of school staff meeting that she would need to teach a 3rd-5th grade split. She had been a 4th grade teacher for over ten years and the news blindsided her. At first. It took her a full 24 hours to shake off the fear and tackle the curriculum planning for these two groups. She did this not because she wanted to but because this is what teachers do to reach the students they love so dearly.
Teachers are one set of workers that know that life will never be the same on any given day. While we cope with many unexpected behaviors and misbehaviors in a usual year, throw in a year where there is a highly communicable virus, politics on mask wearing, a 180 degree change in how we teach and what and to whom, and you pretty much explain what every teacher in the United States is facing.
Remember that there are still issues in face to face learning where a student gets frustrated and throws a desk, or students who may display unacceptable behavior on Zoom or Google classroom forums. There are new sets of behavior management tools to be taught, accountability expectations for virtual learning, and you find that even the most malleable staff in the world is going to have melt down moments.
Palanca Leadership begins Tuesday are for Teachers on Twitter at 7:00 on Tuesday, Sept. 8. This Twitter chat will touch on 3 questions that will bolster step one of resilience and that is “Know Yourself”.
It is our hope that we can build a forum on Twitter this week and Zoom (in 2 weeks) that will offer suggestions, be a sounding board, and provide a place where we can commiserate and support each other because only we know what it is like in this new altered state.
Please sign up at Palancaleadership.com or log on to Twitter #tuesdays4teachers.
We are in this with you. Let’s build our resiliency together.
Thanks for listening and hoping to hear from you this week.