EdCo Members Amber Thienel, MNPS District Lead Numeracy Coach in the South, and Anie Hall, 9th grade English teacher at Hendersonville High School, were both asked, “What’s something you plan to keep doing after the pandemic?” Their answers show us how much we’ve learned this year, and how with what this year has asked of us, it has also given to us as well.
We are walking away from our time teaching through a global pandemic with some losses, but also with many gains. We were forced to adapt and so adapt we did. We adjusted our lessons, mastered technology, and found ways to bring the meaningful activities we completed in-person to the virtual world. But that wasn’t all we gained. We as educators also adjusted our planning practices, connecting with people outside of the building, sharing documents, and organizing materials.
The Educators’ Cooperative posed this question to its members during a series of interviews, “What’s something you plan to keep after the pandemic?” Much of the conversation this year has centered around student learning, but two of our members, Amber and Anie, both reflected on their experiences planning for the year. While teaching has changed, so has the preparation.
“Being able to connect people in buildings, because we can do it virtually now, we’ve realized it works just as well,” Amber tells us. For the first time, connecting people doesn’t need to happen through officially organized professional development requiring time off. “I was in a meeting yesterday with a school that only has one math teacher for 7th and 8th grade, and she really needs to be able to connect with somebody and plan with somebody. I was immediately thinking I could connect her with somebody in another building and they can virtually plan so easily.” Now the isolation of being the only teacher in a building teaching your subject doesn’t mean what it used to mean, and solving it doesn’t have to mean a heavy lift, just a quick virtual connection.
Our organization has changed as well. Everything is posted, labeled, and clear. “I’ve always wanted to keep a day-to-day log of what I did for the following year, so I could go back and see what worked and what didn’t, and really just have a killer year planned out day to day. This has forced me to do that, literally everything, PowerPoints, worksheets, everything’s online, and that’s kind of cool,” Anie says and she’s right! But not only does that mean the systems we personally use are improving, our ability to share with others just grew as well.
Not only are we mastering the face-to-face with students in a virtual world, but we are mastering the planning as well, connecting, organizing, and sharing, experiencing a growth we’re excited to continue.
The Educators’ Cooperative is a non-profit organization that provides a professional learning community for K-12 teachers. Created for teachers by teachers in 2016, EdCo provides professional development and support for educators to collaborate across sectors, disciplines, and career stages. EdCo aims to revolutionize teacher development and leadership by focusing on the essential agency, autonomy, and common ground all teachers share. EdCo is based in Nashville, Tennessee with a reach far beyond that physical location and potential for replication in communities throughout the nation. When educators collaborate, the future of education is greater than the sum of its parts.
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