Teaching with Technology

5 Tips You Need to Know When Teaching Post-Pandemic

Dr. Susan H. Shapiro, Assistant Professor at the Touro College Graduate School of Education and a published author, offers her top five tips to help educators see ongoing success in their classrooms.

As the COVID pandemic surged globally, many of us found ourselves unprepared for the ways in which this deadly virus would affect our daily lives. School aged children and their teachers, who were forced to make the quick transition from in-person to virtual or hybrid learning almost overnight, have faced countless difficulties along the way.

As students and teachers prepare to go back to the classroom full-time this fall, there are many important lessons learned during the pandemic that teachers should consider implementing into their curriculum.

Here are my top5 tips to help educators see ongoing success in their classrooms.

  1. Be gentle with yourselves, students and their parents

Everyone has experienced some level of trauma during COVID-19 and going back to the classroom to resume a normal day to day routine may bring up some issues for the educator at the front of the classroom, as well as their students and their caregivers.

I recommend adding deep breathing exercises to each day’s activities, and strongly urge educators to do constant check-ins to ensure everyone is doing OK while navigating this new normal. These check-ins should continue year-round and we need to remain vigilant to ensure everyone’s mental health is top priority..

  1. When dividing up children to work in small groups, first allow for socialization

While quarantining to protect themselves and their family during the pandemic, many children were isolated and unable to play with other kids their age in large groups. Children need time to catch up and reacquaint themselves with their peers before any real work can get done, thus teachers should factor this vital social time into lessons plans. It would be wise for teachers to encourage some initial socialization so their students will then be able to turn their full attention to completing the task at hand.

  1. Realize and accept that learning has slipped for everyone

There is no finish line for learning; it’s a process. We must expect that children won’t necessarily be at the same level of learning that they were last year or even the year before. While this will likely frustrate everyone involved at points along the learning process, I advise that this should considered when creating the new classroom curriculum to ensure that students are getting a refresh on complex topics to reduce any discouragement.

  1. In many cases, school communication has changed for the better

As a teacher, you know how important ongoing communication with student’s caregivers is and how effective communication benefits everyone involved. During the pandemic, educators spent time speaking to these caregivers via video on Zoom or remained closely connected via email and/or text. Educators must maintain these high levels of communication with parents and caregivers now and in the future to assist students in overcoming various obstacles, whether it’s via email, Zoom conferences, or even WhatsApp.

  1. Don’t throw away any advances made

Enhanced video communication platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams, online learning games like Kahoot, and Google Classroom, are free services enabling students and teachers to remain connected inside and outside of the classroom walls, all of which were all heavily relied upon during the pandemic. Just because we’re now headed back to the classroom, it doesn’t mean teachers should put an end to utilizing these types of innovative technology. In fact, Dr. I strongly urge global educators continue leveraging these platforms, and even integrate them into lesson plans when appropriate as children have varied learning styles. These tools can serve as a vital supplement reinforcing what is being taught inside the walls of the classroom.

About the Author

Susan H. Shapiro, Ed.D., is an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood and Special Education at Touro Graduate School of Education and is the Co-Director of the New DEEL (Democratic Ethical Educational Leadership) Community Network. She earned her master’s degree in elementary and early childhood education from Bank Street College of Education and her doctoral degree from the Steinhardt School at New York University in Educational Leadership. She has been published in journals and written books on topics of early childhood leadership, crisis and ethical leadership.