COVID-19 disrupted professional norms across all industries. Education was equally impacted by the pandemic. Everyone talks about how the pandemic has affected students. However, very few pay attention to how teachers have been dealing with their jobs. In these uncertain times, what can keep teachers motivated?
Boost blended learning infrastructure and training
Blended learning has emerged as the go-to method for students as well as teachers all over the world. It provides a great degree of flexibility in learning. It also enables teachers and students to use technology to their advantage.
Some teachers have started using video modules to impart education. Some have been using voice notes on whatsapp to communicate with students as well as parents. However, there are still many teachers who are not able to capitalize on using technology. Thus, schools and institutions must invest time and effort to train teachers on this new aspect of teaching.
Teachers need to be acknowledged for the tremendous effort they have put in to learn digital tools. However, with the correct guidance and some time, they can master the art of blended learning and make their lessons more effective. Despite all this, Internet access and availability of devices remains an issue.
Focus on their emotional and mental well-being
The pandemic has brought into focus the need for good mental and emotional health. COVID-19 has had a psychological impact on millions of people on the planet. Children and adults alike have been affected. Teachers are no different. With schools being shut intermittently, teachers are also continuously adapting to the situation and adopting new techniques to continue their work. As a result, teachers are working harder than ever to ensure that their students continue learning.
In this situation, we need to take care of teachers’ mental and emotional well-being more than ever. Counselling and the correct tools to help deal with the stress can help to a great extent.
Governments and institutions can play a vital role on this front by innovating. For instance, government schools in Delhi introduced the happiness curriculum even before the pandemic. The concepts taught as part of this curriculum–mindfulness, listening, emotional well-being—have become important in the COVID times.
Increase autonomy of teachers to keep them motivated
Before the pandemic, the curriculum being taught in educational institutions was limited in certain ways. More or less, it was a one-size-fits-all approach. The pandemic taught teachers to find creative ways to reach out to children. And this they did in different ways for different students, all of whom are facing some challenge or the other. Thus, teachers got an increased sense of autonomy.
Instead of relying only on textbooks, teachers started experimenting with other content delivery formats. They also started visiting the homes of students in the community. The students who have access to the Internet and smart devices have also been learning online.
The experience of improvising through the pandemic has definitely taught teachers a lot. If they are given more say in the curriculum and in teaching methods, it will motivate the teachers and also improve their performance. This will in turn contribute in keeping them motivated.
Creating communities through practice
A supportive network of peers is important for any community. We can strengthen our teaching community in the same manner. Having forums where teachers can discuss their learnings and strategies and also share feedback will build a sense of community. During the pandemic especially, sharing experiences with other teachers helped all of them.
Filling teacher vacancies to reduce pressure
Teachers have been paying individual attention to many students during online classes and home visits. However, once schools open, this focused attention might not be possible. The teacher-student ratio needs to be improved by filling up all the vacancies.
This will help to reduce the burden on teachers. It can also help to ensure that weaker students get the benefit from a better teacher-student ratio. By enhancing learning outcomes, this can keep teachers motivated.