Honoring and Supporting our Educators During Challenging Times

On Monday, October 5th educational institutions around the globe honored teachers on World Teachers Day.  World Teachers Day has a strong contemporary connection to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which have been a feature of project-based learning here in FWSU.  Historically, the day to honor teachers was established in 1994. It serves to commemorate the signing of the 1966 UNESCO/ILO recommendation that addressed the international status of teachers around the world through standard-setting to highlight the important contributions of the teaching profession.

This year’s theme for World Teachers Day, “Teachers: Leading in crisis, reimagining the future,” is illustrated daily by the vital and complex work that teachers are engaged in during this pandemic. Our teachers work collaboratively to ensure the best possible, safe, responsive, and engaging delivery of education for all learners, within the changing contexts of school.

There is no doubt that these are the most challenging times all stakeholders in education have faced. Much necessary emphasis in education is placed on the critical role of keeping our learning communities both engaged and safe simultaneously.  Concurrently, every educator in FWSU keeps an eye to the future by regularly asking this critical question; “What are we learning now that will help us to better meet the needs of all learners in the future?” In collaboration with their colleagues, they work daily to lead continuous improvements in teaching and learning, always thinking and planning to understand what will be best for our learners as we move forward.

This year’s theme reminds us that in order to lead in the present and reimagine the future, we must focus on networking and collaboration on a larger scale than we may have in the past. Educators are learning from each other across our schools, throughout our region and our state, and nationally and internationally.  Everything we learn provides us with an enlarged understanding of strategies and solutions we can apply in our own context of local problem solving to keep students safe and engaged with as much depth and frequency as possible.

One of the ways that we can honor the complex work of teachers during these uncertain times is to ensure we are supporting them in ways that attend to their wellbeing.  A post featured in the United Kingdom’s Digital Magazine Education Technology, Teacher wellbeing: teachers need our support now more than ever, addresses some key ideas to both honor and support our teachers’ need for and desire to be at their best for our students while leading the learning and reimagining the future. Here are two that we can highlight:

  • “Communication is Important for Teacher Wellbeing”: Regular communications with our teachers help to support their wellbeing. Our administrators strive to provide teachers with up-to-date information and strategies to engage them in key decision making and also provide regular forums for questions, input, and feedback. Just as our teachers center the needs of our students to ensure responsiveness to each and every one of them, centering communication is key to supporting the wellbeing of our teachers. 
  • “Balanced Lifestyle and Strong Role Models”: Teachers in FWSU have always prioritized wellness for students and are strong role models for them.  As they ventured into uncharted territory this school year, they came with a plan to build relationships, create stronger connections, and address the social and emotional needs of their learners within the various learning contexts and scenarios. This is complex work. Administrators at each of our schools are finding ways to support their teachers’ needs to experience the joy of teaching and learning, get much-needed weekend rest, and find innovative ways to meet the daily challenges of the times that could  improve our approaches to wellness now and in the future.

The WORLD TEACHERS DAY JOINT STATEMENT FROM UNESCO, ILO, UNICEF AND EDUCATION INTERNATIONAL sums up why we are so proud of our FWSU educators and understand how important it is to support them: 

“In this crisis, teachers have shown, as they have done so often, great leadership and innovation in ensuring that #LearningNeverStops, that no learner is left behind. Around the world, they have worked individually and collectively to find solutions and create new learning environments for their students to allow education to continue.”

THANK YOU TO ALL THE EDUCATORS AND STAKEHOLDERS IN EDUCATION IN THE FWSU SCHOOL COMMUNITY. 

Linda Keating is the Director of Curriculum,
Instruction and Assessment at Franklin West
Supervisory Union. She is a regular contributor to THE FWSU STORY. You can follow her on Twitter @Educate4ward

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