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2022 – No Compromise on Education!

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We can all agree that 2022 has not started off quite as promising as we had hoped. COVID has continued to affect us all, both physically and mentally. Regardless of our roles in the world, we are all feeling the affects of this virus that just doesn’t seem to go away. As parents, we are once again dealing with questions about vaccinations and keeping our kids safe. The kids just want to lead regular lives and be able to hang out with their friends. Professionally, many companies are once again revisiting work from home policies. There is no telling when or if our lives will ever return to normal. What we do know though, is that life must go on. We must continue to find ways of moving forward and ensuring that our contributions to those around us and to the world do not diminish. Parents also have a challenging task of making sure that today’s problems do not affect the next generation.

During the first wave of COVID, the global educational system failed too many children. For many schools and students, 2020 was a lost year educationally. We have already started to feel the affects as schools today are dealing with serious teacher shortages, lower test scores, and increased student needs. While we don’t yet know where COVID is going to take us, we must work to make sure that our children do not lose another year of education. The fact is that neither the kids nor the adults can afford to let that happen. It is time for parents, schools, and the students to work together to make the best of this difficult situation. We can all do our parts to help our kids…

Schools – Teachers are not robots. It is unfair to expect teachers who have been trained to provide education in a certain way to completely change their instructional methods without training and help. During the last jump to online learning, many schools ignored this issue and sent their teachers into the world of online teaching with no guidance or support. We can hardly blame the educators for the disasters that followed. I have been teaching online for more than 10 years and I can say without hesitation that online teaching is more than just knowing how to use Zoom. Teaching students remotely requires a whole new skill set and approach that most teachers do not know. When COVID first hit, I personally trained close to 2,000 teachers in the basics of online teaching. That’s not nearly enough! Last time around, the entire world was caught by surprise. This time though, we have had over a year to provide our teachers with the training they need to successfully make the transition from classroom to online teaching. If your school has not used this time, wake up! If you do not have the resources in-house, there are many online companies and platforms that can help the teachers. It won’t be cheap but there is no choice. Schools have the responsibility to make sure students are learning, regardless of the instructional format.

Parents – If the kids are at home for more hours, the school cannot do it by themselves. We are in this together! Even when classes are online, the kids should be up in the morning, dressed, and ready to learn at the start of the day. Signing into classes from bed or in pajamas is not okay. If we want the children to take their online classes seriously, we need to set the tone. This also includes providing our kids with working and usable technology. During the first stage of online learning, we could say that there were not enough devices for everyone, or not enough bandwidth. Well, just as the schools cannot use certain excuses, neither can the parents. Computers are cheap these days. Our kids do not need the best machines, as even a simple Chromebook will do the job. They certainly should not be signing into classes on their phones. The kids do however need to be able to participate in their online classes with good connections, working mics and webcams, and most importantly, good attitudes. Sorry parents, there’s more. When our kids are learning at home, we have to ensure that they are keeping up with assigned work and doing their jobs as students. If you do not know how to access your child’s LMS (Google Classroom, Schoology, etc.) now is the time to figure it out. If our kids are not in the school building, we need to make sure that their work is being completed and submitted. More importantly, we need to be sure that the communication between the parents and the teachers remains strong.

Children/Students – You all have skin in the game as well. Students cannot afford another “lost” year. Yeah, we know that you rather be in school with your friends and not stuck at home on Zoom all day. We all agree that learning all day online may not be the ideal option. But we need to make it work. Your teachers feel the same way you do. They are working countless hours to create online lessons and to make sure they can cover all the material for your class. Don’t make it more difficult for them. Good behavior in an online class is non-negotiable. Attendance is still required, and no, you cannot sign into a class from your phone. Your teachers need you to be able to see and share content, and to be able to participate in hands-on lessons. You cannot do those tasks as effectively from a phone. One more thing…. Get up and get dressed. Online learning days are not vacation days! Show your teacher and classmates the respect that we all deserve. We hope and pray that this won’t last forever. In the meantime, though, your education is too important to your future.

This is not an easy time for any of us. Between the uncertainties and the fears, we are all having to make adjustments in our lives in order to move forward. If we all do our part though, education does not need to suffer. Let’s make sure that regardless of what happens now, that the next generation is able to make us proud.

About the Author
Aryeh Eisenberg is the CEO and General Manager of Edu-Together, an online education technology provider for schools and individuals. Based in Israel, Edu-Together works with students all over the world.
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