If you’ve ever spent any time in a K-12 classroom, teaching kids, you know that it’s truly a 24/7 job. You also know that “summer vacation” isn’t really vacation because teachers often fill their summers teaching summer school, taking classes, preparing for the fall, or working a second job to pay for everything they need the next school year. Often teachers have just recovered from the past school year before they are jumping into the next new school year. For the business people who don’t understand what I’m talking about, I would say that teaching is like having your clients in the room with you 5 days a week, for 8 hours a day. Understandably, teachers cherish their free time, so the idea of adding on a workshop, adding on a task, or scheduling regular group meetings, isn’t always appealing. However, history has shown us that we are not extremely capable of achieving success “flying solo,” there is power in numbers, and given the extreme circumstances teachers have been facing since March of 2020, who better to turn to than each other.
Being a teacher means being a lifelong learner – talking to other teachers helps learn about new instructional techniques, new ways to engage students, new ways to assess students, but most importantly it helps teachers young and old know that they are not alone, especially when they are struggling with a student or instruction. With the transition to online instruction and the fear of pandemic, teachers have needed each other more than ever.
As I comb through social media groups that are specifically focused on teaching and teachers, I have come across some amazing conversations and an abundance of new resources for teaching online. Teachers, as they have always done, are helping each other through this very challenging time, providing each other with words of encouragement, opportunities to connect, teaching materials they have created for online instruction, as well as stories about the hurdles that they have had to overcome.
During this time of uncertainty, banding together is critical. For the teachers who are saying to themselves, “I just don’t have time to join a group or participate in a workshop,” I say this, think about how much time you might save searching for resources or best practices if you have a bunch of like-minded people helping you? Not every group of teachers is for everyone, but given the number of education communities out there, you are bound to find one that works for you, and given that you only have to go as far as your computer these days, to join a group, there is little reason not to try it out. Who knows – you may just like it!