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Teachers keep learning... even when the world has paused

Published on: Monday 18th May 2020

Posted in:  Blog

Teachers keep learning … even when the world has paused

One thing that I’m not in the least bit surprised by but has taken me aback and really struck me during this pandemic, is that our teachers never stop learning.  Regardless of what’s been thrown at them, regardless of shifts in their circumstances and regardless of whether they are working from home trying to figure out Zoom or Teams to catch up with their senior leadership; regardless of whether they’re trying to work out social distancing within classrooms, educating our most vulnerable students or children of key workers. Regardless of these things and despite many of their partners being furloughed and the concerns about job security and mortgage payments, or their own children struggling to get out of bed because the home is not designed to be a classroom and they miss their friends so much that they are going through a period of psychological grief … regardless and despite all this, our teachers have kept learning… 

Now, I know this because I’ve been fortunate and privileged enough to be part of that learning journey with our teachers.  I’ve enjoyed designing, leading and sharing numerous webinars – a concept that was new to me before March 2020!  

Whilst leading the exploration of explicit vocabulary instruction with other teachers – to date, engaging with approximately 550 teachers – I’ve noticed that everyone is there on time, follows the instructions on the screen, has done their pre-thinking (where necessary), joins in and participates as you would expect teachers to do in any other professional development situation.  But… we’re not in the same professional development situation as we were five months ago.  We’re not sat with our colleagues and teams chatting about Y9 or the new member of staff in PE.  We’re not sat at our round tables in the hall, sucking Foxes Glacier Mints and deciding whether or not to have a chocolate digestive or go all out on the doughnuts the office team have just brought down.  

We find ourselves in a completely different and new world, yet our teachers are still learning – regardless and despite everything else.  Teachers are getting up (which is a feat in itself); they’re getting organised and they’re focusing on their own development.  No one told them to do so, and I hope very few if any MAT CEO’s are forcing or demanding teachers to do that, but they are choosing to do it. 

When listening to the teachers in our webinars, and asking why they have attended and why it is important to them to continue to develop and learn, the reply, with a shrug of the shoulders is, “Well, why wouldn’t we?” When I step back and consider this, I find it both interesting and awe inspiring. 

In this unfathomable situation we find ourselves in, when we could quite easily choose to be identified by our situation and wallow in the self-pity and sadness that this ‘new normal’ could force us into, it’s remarkable that our teachers’ response is, “Well why wouldn’t we keep learning?”. 

Their commitment and passion for improving their own practice in order to improve the development and life chances of our population of children, is prioritised against all the other madness going on. 

We know there are many professions who are nobly propping up society through this pandemic, who are celebrated and thanked every Thursday via our collective clap. However, credit where credit’s due – for teachers to hold fast to their perception on things in this time of struggle is incredibly admirable. 

Another thing I’ve listened to, when I’ve been delivering and leading our Lexonik webinars, is teachers are still asking questions about other people’s children.  Now, I know you’re going to say of course they are.  Of course, teachers are asking about other people’s children because it’s their job; a teacher’s job is to invest in other people’s children. 

Our clientele is other people’s children, but even under these unprecedented times, teachers are still asking these questions, in order to inform them about how to make the future lives of children better. 

Teachers are focusing on developing their current selves in order to enhance their future selves to the benefit of our children when we are all back together again. 

So, I say not only do teachers deserve our praise and admiration, but also our support in investing in their development. This in turn, ensuring that the future for all our children is bright and progressive and the legacy of lockdown isn’t felt in the academic progress of this generation. 

Lexonik:  We’ve listened and we’re here to help you close the gaps. 

To find ways of how we can help, click here 

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