Matthew Schenk on How School Leaders Can Support Students and Teachers Through the Pandemic

There is a lot of uncertainty during this time, how can we maintain some structure in education?

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COVID-19 has wreaked havoc on everyone with almost no exception. Students, educators, and school leaders are among those facing this unprecedented situation. Many schools throughout the US have closed for the remainder of the school year, while others are navigating the uncharted waters of online learning. 

Educational leaders recognize that students and teachers need support now more than ever before. Teachers are at home, balancing curriculums and technology with parenting and other responsibilities. Additionally, many educators are night worrying about their students who have lost the security of routine and face-to-face connections of school days. 

So, the question that remains is, how can educational leaders support teachers through this crisis?

First of all, communication throughout this uncertain time is essential. School leaders should be communicating with their faculty several times a week. If possible, meet via online platforms so everyone can hear your voice and see your face. Although these meetings will never replace face-to-face gatherings, they still foster a sense of connection that an email blast can’t. 

These meetings are an opportunity to ask your staff how you can best support them. Find out what they need by asking directly. It is also beneficial if you can make yourself accessible after the meeting so that teachers can discuss issues with you outside of the group setting. 

Chances are high that most of your staff’s concerns will be regarding the wellbeing of their students. Make sure that they are clear on how your school is supporting students and their families. Keep them updated as the situation develops and evolves.

Next, we need to be encouraging our educators to take care of themselves. While so many of our educators are willing to work themselves to the bone for their kids, we need to be reminding them that they are important too. If teachers aren’t tending to their own needs and effectively managing their stress, they are likely to burn out. We need teachers who are keeping themselves a priority and staying healthy. Teachers are best suited to support students when they are thriving themselves. 

Although this is particularly trying time for all of us, if we work together, communicate effectively, and support one another to the best of our abilities, we will get through it.

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