This is part of a series of blog posts based on HMH’s recent report titled The Connected Learning Era: Mitigating the COVID-19 Learning Loss.
Ever since schools made the transition to remote learning in March, teachers have worked tirelessly to ensure students’ social and emotional well-being and their continued academic learning. In many cases, this effort has negatively affected teachers’ own social and emotional health and continued learning.
A nationwide survey addressed in this webinar and conducted by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and the Collaborative for Academic, Social, and Emotional Learning (CASEL) asked teachers to describe their most frequent emotions over the past few months—and their answers were anxious, fearful, worried, overwhelmed, and sad. Teachers reported that they are feeling these emotions for both personal and professional reasons. Indeed, as many of us have, teachers have seen their personal and professional lives become entwined as a result of the pandemic.
As we move forward to a new school year, teachers must be given the opportunity to do as the airlines and my colleagues Francie Alexander and Amy Endo advise: put their own masks on first. Regardless of whether classes are held remotely or in the classroom this fall, by implementing a connected professional learning system as part of a larger connected learning system, schools will give their teachers a chance to take care of their own personal and professional needs before they take care of the needs of their students.
A connected professional learning system that is flexible, personalized, collaborative, and sustained will enable teachers to reflect on and improve their instructional practices, build capacity within the school, and improve students’ social and emotional well-being and academic achievement. This sort of system will build connections through webinars, virtual coaching, and online collaboration, all connected to an assessment system and high-quality curriculum materials.