If you're looking for an awesome online PLC, or if you're looking for some great teachers to just bounce ideas off of, you should join in on #MasteryChat on Twitter. The Mastery Chat was created by the Teach Better Team (@TeachBetter on Twitter) and happens every Thursday night at 8pm EST.
They were kind enough to ask me to moderate the chat on May 21st and we asked the questions below. We also grabbed a few great answers to share them with you here.
Sometimes it’s hard to find the good in something when everything seems to be exploding all around you. Sometimes it’s almost easier because you’re looking for anything positive. Teachers are seeing students grow in new ways! Teachers are being lifted up and encouraged! Sometimes the best thing we see is that we avoided a bigger problem. Ultimately, distance teaching and learning are not what we had in mind for this school year, but the best thing I’ve seen happen are the vast number of teachers, schools and districts that took this challenge on and made something good happen.
Skills are funny. Some people look at a task and think it’s hard. Some people look at a task and think it’s easy. Our skill set changes our perspective and this era of distance teaching and learning have changed the way we look at an issue. For some of us, a new form of social media is daunting, but that’s where the kids are. For some of us learning that it’s ok to allow for a second chance.
Think about your ability to teach a classroom full of kids. Not everyone can do that. Most people can’t. I’m very sure that at some point someone asked you what you do and when you tell them you’re a teacher they say “I could never…” You can and you do. At some point you may have looked at Twitter or TikTok and thought “I could never…” You can, and why not give it a shot!
We all know that communication with parents will drive student success. It’s simple. But we didn’t do it… Why not? Well, it was hard. It seemed like extra work. You didn’t want to give out your number. All seemed valid, but now we are seeing more and more the power of parental communication. It is the glue that holds us together: teacher, school, student, family. Communication binds them.
The more we can talk to parents and build those relationships, the better our teaching becomes. This more than anything is the skill and practice that I hope continues next school year.
This might have been the hardest question emotionally. The answer could potentially be no, and that would be sad. There was some sadness in this set of answers, but also hope. Most teachers have been able to reach most students. Most teachers have been able to use some form of communication that met student needs. Kids and teachers are resourceful, but the digital divide is becoming a digital canyon. SchoolStatus can help bridge the gap between home and school (even homes without wifi!). We can help bridge the gap between English and non-English speaking homes. Best of all, when parents and teachers talk to each other, the educator will get a glimpse of life inside that student’s home. They will better understand that student and they will be better able to teach that student!
Distance Learning meant that we had to change our expectations for grades, assignments, and so many other things that we normally use to assess student progress. It actually makes me proud to see so many teachers who are less concerned about formative data and more concerned with social and emotional learning and health. SEL data exists and sometimes it’s as simple as “Which students are doing ok, and which ones aren’t?”
At SchoolStatus, we are excited that educators all over the world were able to transition so quickly this new normal of Remote Learning. Will it continue next fall? Maybe. Are we done with it forever? Maybe... maybe not. Regardless, we're excited that we get to work with dedicated professionals who will do what it takes to get the job done. Come on Fall! Bring your new challenges!
SchoolStatus gives educators a real-time picture of all data associated with their students including benchmarks, state assessments, grades, discipline, attendance, etc. From the same view, educators have tools to contact parents via text, email or call while documenting the communication on the student record. No other parent communication technology provides tools for data analytics and parent communication from within a single system.