Today’s contributor: Lisa Wenske teaches 1st Grade in Austin, Texas. She enjoys running and movies.
This school year seems to continue a recent pattern that includes the growing availability of helpful resources; growing awareness of exacerbated issues across students’ and educators’ lives and work; and increasingly vocal pressures from society, families and administration in our school districts and government.
Though many of us continually attempt to do our best in serving students, questions seem to remain and arise:
Questions such as:
-How do we serve students in the best possible ways?
-What actually works, in terms of instruction and instructional practice, and what has been proven effective?
-How do we help students navigate a world that is still somewhat new to all of us?
To help in some of these matters, I have come across some great articles and resources, of late:
-We are, often, inundated with tons of ideas and demands. A great article, written as a TCEA blog post, Brain-Based Strategies that Work, https://blog.tcea.org/brain-based-strategies-that-work/ explains how sometimes, needs and thoughts about pedagogical particulars change.
-The aforementioned article links to a Clearinghouse of effective practice examples (though, too, these can also change over time). The What Works Clearinghouse includes several research based approaches, programs and ideas that promote student success.
-As always, supporting students in relationship based or relationship building ways is imperatively helpful. Consider exploring WISE’s (Well-Being Information and Strategies for Educators’) website; their site’s resource area and video library for invaluable tips and strategies.
Note that nationally, many policy and educational stakeholders are beginning to more closely examine the effects of technology and societal happenings on everyone’s mental health. The U.S. Surgeon General recently released a report that provides suggestions on how we can all help students through changing and often stressful times. The full report can be found here with specific instructions for educators on pages 19-20 .
Finally, another major issue we face is figuring out how to help students learn to navigate a world when discovering the difference between information and disinformation is more critical than ever. This past November, the Aspen Institute released a report from their Commission on Information Disorder, which is linked here. They, too, provide ideas for society’s need in addressing and alleviating the issues that cause and come about due to false information being spread throughout the population.
Whether your job is nearer or farther from students, I hope that as you spread kindness, helpfulness and education throughout our world, you know how important your job is… Thank you for all that each of you do for all of us.