Teachers, You Don’t Need to Be Perfect During This Crisis

Teachers, We Don’t Need to Be Perfect

Hey, teachers: we’re doing great. Seriously- we’re rockstars – even celebrities are singing our praises on social media. We were already overwhelmed, exhausted, overworked and underappreciated before COVID-19. Then we had to change the whole way of doing our job in the blink of an eye – while our personal lives were also turned upside down. We’re juggling more than ever before – and that’s saying a lot. And so many of us still feel like we’re not doing enough. We’re too hard on ourselves. We’re not superheroes and we don’t need to be perfect. 

We’re not trained to teach online.

There are amazing teachers who have been teaching virtually for years. They’ve taken training on best practices for online teaching. They’ve had time to master the requirements and learned how to connect with their students from a distance. But most of us were in our physical classrooms with our students in the same space one day and then dumped into a whole new world the next. We don’t know how to teach online. We don’t know how to create lessons, give meaningful assignments and engage with students remotely. We’re trying really hard anyway. 

Where’s our tech support? 

I’m not computer savvy and now my whole job relies on technology. Zoom, Google Classroom, Dropbox, Canvas, etc. We’re having to learn whole new programs, navigate webcams and figure out why our microphones aren’t working or why we can’t hear our students. Then we have to troubleshoot with our students and their parents so they can also function in this new remote classroom setup. There are so many user names and passwords to enter. Even entering attendance is a nightmare with multiple logins required.

Making videos and teaching through a screen is awkward. 

Hats off again to virtual teachers who are comfortable making videos and giving lessons through a screen. It makes me very anxious – and many of my teacher friends agree. We’ve spent years telling kids to focus on school because being a YouTube star isn’t a viable career path for most. Now we’re seeing there’s a lot more skill involved in being on screen than we thought! Hey, YouTubers: how about doing a tutorial for teachers on finding comfort and confidence on camera?

Teachers aren’t being cut any slack. 

We’re teaching online for the first time, grading assignments, being available individually for students, and answering parent calls and emails at all hours. And somehow we’re expected to virtually attend even more staff meetings than we had before. We’re also still expected to continue with professional development hours, training, reports, etc. Most teachers recognize kids are dealing with a lot right now and are making necessary accommodations to the workload, but few teachers are receiving the same grace.

Boundaries suddenly got super blurry. 

Anyone else realizes during a Zoom meeting the laundry pile is visible behind you with your hot pink Victoria’s Secret bra right on top? Too much of our home life is now showing through the screen. Toddler dancing naked in the corner? Dog peeing on the carpet? Partner yelling out something inappropriate or breaking into song? Our students, coworkers, and administrators now have a front-row show into our private chaos. We’ve spent our whole career working to establish professionalism and clear boundaries, now we’re teaching, participating in staff meetings and conducting parent/teacher conferences from our dining room tables. 

We’re trying to make accommodations with little to no support. 

We’re trying to figure out how to meet the needs of all students remotely. We’re struggling to follow IEPs, modify lesson plans, help parents access services and support all of our students without access to the amazing paraprofessionals, therapists, and other support staff who help facilitate special education.

And we’re doing all of this with our own children at home. 

We have to work even longer hours, care for our own children, oversee their schoolwork, worry about keeping our families healthy and hunt for supplies. And we’re still dangerously low on toilet paper.

It’s a whole lot to handle. It’s okay if you’re having a hard time. Most of us are. It’s a crazy situation we’ve all been thrust into. It’s going to be messy and awkward sometimes. Good thing teachers know how to keep on trucking when the unexpected happens! This is temporary and we’ll get through it. So, teacher friends, let’s come together and agree we don’t need to be perfect. We’re doing the best we can and that’s plenty good enough. 

Also Read:

Teachers, We Don’t Need to Be Perfect During This Crisis

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Rachael Moshman
Rachael Moshman, M.Ed. is a mom, educator, writer, and advocate for self-confidence. She’s been a teacher in classrooms of infants through adult college students. She loves pizza, Netflix and yoga.
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