This post is really a tribute to the thousands of teachers who have simply stood up during the COVID-19 school lockdown period and done what great teachers so often do – innovate to find solutions to the challenges they face.
As we have embarked on working with our learners remotely we are hearing a lot about the difficulties being faced by students and their families, and the ways in which schools, the state and their school districts are working to find ways of supporting them – but spare a thought for the teachers too!
Like their students these educators are required to work from home, and, like their students, do not always have the environments at home that are suited to their needs. Few have home offices with all of the resources available to them that they are used to at school. Many have their own children (and spouse) at home also – all competing for the precious ‘private space’ to be able to focus on their respective conference calls and focused study.
My motivation for saying this comes from my online session with my Arkansas educator friends yesterday. In the midst of our session, one of the principals described the situation for her at home – with limited spaces to work uninterrupted and competition to the limited space at the kitchen table, this principal had resorted to using the only space where she could work in private and undisturbed – her bedroom. Like most people, she didn’t have a desk set up in there to work on – let alone any space to do so. So what did she do – she set up the ironing board and used that as her desk while she sits on the edge of her bed. Problem solved! Not only does it provide her with a workspace – but it is one that is adjustable, she can use it also as a stand-up desk when required so that she is able to ensure she is attending to her postural needs in terms of ensuring she works in a variety of positions during the day.
I’m certainly not advocating that we all dust off our ironing boards to create home office furniture – nor do I believe that is the most ideal way of working. But difficult times challenge all of us – including the teachers who are working so hard to support their learners in all ways, socially, emotionally and academically. So this post is simply to say thank you and to acknowledge the sacrifices being made, the ingenuity being demonstrated and above all, the incredible care and concern being shown for every learner in your care.