COVID-19 school closures affect 63 million teachers. The latest challenge for school systems is to make sure that the reopening of schools goes smoothly. To give your teachers the best chance of succeeding, listen to their needs, protect their safety, and help them adapt their teaching approaches. Here are specific ways you can support your education staff for the upcoming school year.
Involve Teachers in Policy and Planning
When developing effective strategies for a return to school, be sure to include teachers and education support staff in the planning. Including teachers in the planning process helps to ensure that their needs are addressed, while they also advocate for their students’ needs. Involvement of teachers is crucial when planning for school safety and developing teaching practices to resume classroom learning because they are the ones with firsthand experience.
Create an Environment Safe for the Community
Schools are gradually reopening, and the safety and well-being of learners and school staff are a priority. Safe working conditions promote learning while ensuring that teachers and school staff are motivated upon return from the pandemic. The World Health Organization provides guidelines and standards to help ensure safety and health in schools.
Support the Psychological, Social, and Emotional Well-Being of Teachers and Staff
COVID-19 is affecting everyone, including teachers, students, and their families. Unfortunately, not addressing the stress and trauma connected with the pandemic can create long-term harm to the learning process and the overall well-being of teachers, students, and administrators. As a result, teachers will experience burnout, leading to high rates of absenteeism and many teachers leaving their jobs. Ensure that your academic staff receives ongoing psychological support so they can feel safe and happy.
Help Teachers Adapt
Support and resources are essential for teachers and education support staff to resume their lives in the classroom and provide helpful teaching. This support is particularly crucial when you place additional burdens on teacher’s available time. The pandemic is placing unprecedented demands on all, so help your staff through this challenging period by listening first and then offering solutions.
Provide the Right Working Conditions
Teachers deserve decent working standards, timely pay, and sick leave despite the unprecedented circumstances. If the return to school is staggered or your institution continues with remote learning, it is likely to create complex working schedules and routines. Value the rights and working conditions of your teachers by avoiding a reduction in budgets wherever possible.
Sustain or Increase Financial Resources
The highest recurrent cost in education budgets is salaries and benefits for teachers. To ensure learning continuity during this challenging time, you will need to invest in your teachers to maintain wages and provide training and psychological support. Request that your local government encourages private providers to maintain regular salary payments to teachers and other educational staff.
Monitor the Situation
Evaluating and adapting are crucial as schools reopen. As a school leader, it’s important that you develop regular check-ins and evaluation frameworks for monitoring and benchmarking progress when schools reopen. These frameworks should acknowledge teachers’ roles in providing a favorable learning environment and welcome honest feedback for improvement.
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