by Dr. Pelham Mead, Ed.D.
Well it is July 2021 and the pandemic is winding down in most States. California learned many lessons from the pandemic. Catholic schools tried to go on their own and have face to face instruction, only to be closed weeks later from students coming down with the virus and teachers too.
Public school learned that they were completely unprotected from a mass epidemic. Dealing with the annual flu was one thing, but this virus spread 3 times faster than the average seasonal virus.
Many districts tried to go online and bought canned courses from third party companies. Other districts tried to force their faculty to learn how to teach online with small clinics. Just like back in the 1980’s when technology was just developing, school districts expected teachers to learn MS Word on their own time. Laser disks were introduced but never purchased. Librarians became the new audio experts for schools. None of these approached worked.
Here we are in the year 2021 after making the same mistakes as in the past with regard to technology. Wearing masks is a major problem with children but not impossible. Keeping social distancing requires desk further apart and partitions set up. Expensive but doable for schools. Did the schools ever train their faculty how to teach online. NO. They assumed like in the 1980’s they would teach themselves. Some teachers adapted and others change professions and quit.
What have we learned from the Pandemic?
1-Be prepared for the future by training teachers to adapt and use both online teaching and unperson teaching.
2-Have administrators trained how to make schools virus free and have infrared air treatments and filtered air flow. Cleaning goes to a whole new level with classrooms needing to be sprayed down with anti-bacterial spray every night in addition to floors moped and windows cleaned with antibiotic cleansers.
3-Parental communication is vital. Many parents tried to form their own study pods because they did not trust the local school districts.
4-School districts must plan for the future when more viruses attack society and how to be prepared for more pandemic problems in the future.
5-The Role of the teacher has changed over the past fifty plus years. Learning is a combination of remote, in-person and self-driven. Students must learn how to use technology to make their work careers easier. The needs of the future are based on improved technology and how well we as humans can adapt to our own inventions. Look what the cotton gin did for cotton farming and picking cotton. It turned the whole industry around. Hundreds of pickers were no longer needed when on machine could do all the work.
6-Politics and finances ofter play a negative role in School Districts and the States have to get them to tow the line and follow State guideline, not try to do things their own way.