It is definitely spring. The weather is warming up, at least in some areas of the nation. For educators, especially this year the spring semester has brought significant challenges with keeping students engaged, returning to school in much different circumstances in which they left, and the question of what are we doing next school year?
Being that most school districts at least have a plan to return back to in-person instruction next fall, at least teachers know where they will be teaching from. However, does that mean that students will return back in the same numbers pre-pandemic? I venture to say not. A simple search on Google will return similar responses from Parent Magazine to the Washington Post, all saying that some parents will opt to keep their children home.
What does that mean for the instructional model? First and foremost technology is here to stay. Hybrid models which were part of instruction brought in new technology. However, it some states such as California, the hybrid model is not expected offered in the fall. It is worth examining the students who have thrived in distance learning and tailor a platform that best serves them. I know from my own students, most of whom would rather be in a brick and mortar school that there were a few who would opt to school from home. These students did well academically and there should be nothing to prevent them from continuing so.
In a recent Ed Week article by Peter DeWitt, the concept of a virtual school within a school was outlined. This definitely a plausible solution to serve students who would continue remote learning. However, one obstacle stands out. In order to accommodate these students, an investment needs to be made in training with the best practices for remote learning. This investment in training should take place in all schools regardless if they are offering virtual schooling or not. For as schools were flooded with new technology during the pandemic, very little was done for teachers who will be using the technology. Despite this many teachers took it upon themselves to learn new platforms for delivery and did quite well.
Students have already begun to return and most likely will be back in full force in the fall. Will the teachers be prepared?