Whether the school year is in person, fully remote, or a hybrid of the two, teachers, administration, and school support staff are collectively navigating uncharted territory. As we enter a brand-new normal, educators are bound to face new challenges in the classroom.
As we stand on the precipice of change. We must address several pertinent issues that relate to the Black Lives Matter movement. Change is inevitable, and if things are to be different, a level of respect must be developed between all parties. How do we address these issues? What must we do to ensure students move progressively toward making systemic change?
Students in the K-12 setting experience immense developmental changes, socially, emotionally, and academically. All the while, they go through dreaded awkward stages—braces, bad haircuts, first crushes—and experience greater demands from parents, teachers, and community members.
Funding for public education can be a tricky topic to comprehend fully. As the process is complex, federal funding can bring up a myriad of questions, and new educators may not know how to make sense of it all.
To quote one of my previous graduate school professors, "education is simply made up of alphabet soup."
The times in which we are living are truly odd and unprecedented. Actually, there are a lot of words that people use to describe this time. I’ve heard scary, crazy, stressful, and boring, just to name a few. Some people have used this time to improve themselves by working out or trying new hobbies. Others are worried or stressed about their job security and family's wellbeing. But, one thing I think we can agree upon is that this is a time to come together and revel in comfort and support.
This year has already proven to be a whirlwind for many schools and districts across the nation. Between educational strikes resulting in negotiations between lawmakers and teachers and a global pandemic causing schools to scramble for alternative learning methods, there are many trends and changes in the field of education to watch this year.
Has your district made the shift to using digital resources and technology in the classroom? Some have and many more are in the process of doing so. This change raises the question: what digital skills do teachers need? Primarily, teachers need training on digital pedagogy, the devices that students will be using, and issues that may arise as a result of going paperless.
A pedagogical shift towards teaching social studies in conjunction with other subjects, and not as an isolated topic, has slowly emerged on the horizon in public schools for the last five years. In some states, standardized state tests in social studies have been discontinued for students in 6th and 7th grades because they are considered non-essential. Teachers continue to ask why social studies content is being pushed aside for language arts, math, and other STEM-based curricula. Social studies, especially at the secondary level, is a disappearing and often thought of as less important curriculum, but it doesn’t have to be.
We want our classrooms to be utopian communities, ideal worlds of cooperation and happiness. Classroom-management experts describe strategies to achieve that dream, but their advice falls across a continuum with the top-down, teacher-in-charge approach at one end and the bottom-up, students-create-the-rules at the other. Which approach is best?