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Dr. Tisha Shipley has been in education for 17 years. She has taught Pre-K, Kindergarten, Gifted and Talented 3rd-6th Grades, Dr. Shipley was an elementary principal, a cheer coach, and was on...
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Staying Positive in This Unknown Time: Ideas to Try

As families and teachers, we are all concerned on how our children are dealing with what is happening in the world right now. Staying positive during this unknown time is such an important part of how your children will learn to deal with times of uncertainty and conflict.  As we begin navigating this new school year, it is important that we tell our children that “it is ok” and “we will get through this”.  It is important for them to see you be strong, but also that you show emotion, so they learn how to deal with their own emotions.  As we know, children are always watching us, and it is important to teach them how to regulate their own thoughts and feelings in a positive way.

Children have missed out on a lot of not only educational time, but social interactions which are important to growth and development. Even though we have tried hard to have Facetime play dates, getting them outside to play and keeping them in some sort of routine, it is important that we continue to be positive and share with them what is going on in the world, but also give them ideas on how to resolve what is happening.  Talk to them about what Scientists are trying to do to find a vaccine/cure. Explain to them why they must wear a mask in public and or at school.  This is a time that will be written in history books, so children shouldn’t be sheltered but educated on their level in the process.  Here are a few very good resources to take a peek at that will help you do this as we move forward: Talking to Kids about The Coronavirus, How to Talk to your Kids About COVID-19,  and 10 Tips for Talking about COVID-19 with your Kids.

As children start school whether it be remote or face-to-face we must ensure that there is a relationship with the teacher and family.  This is vital not only this year but every year.  How can you think outside the box and build that relationship? There are many things you can do, but making a phone call, having a one-on-one facetime call, send a post card, doing a quick drive by with a bag drop off (if your school allows), doing a fun all about me with the family etc, will all help build a positive relationship.  Next how can you keep in touch with families?  You can ensure that you are visible through professional social media,  Blog about what is happening in your classroom, write a weekly newsletter, and ensure that you are keeping families up to date on what you expect and what they can expect from you.  Everyone wants to know what to expect.

Next, keep a routine in your classroom and online.  Let children know what you expect from them in the learning process.  Online learning can be just as effective as face to face if done correctly.  Everyone needs to be on the same page for this to happen. Continue to have high expectations for children, but realize that during this time, what you are expecting may not be attainable, but work with them, this shows compassion and empathy and this again, is modeling for children.

As the parent and teacher, you need to set goals on what you want this year to look like.  Some may be starting online and going to school later, some may only be doing online, and some have started or will start face-to-face.  No matter what, stay positive and as normal as possible.  There can always be community of learners built with mutual respect and trust.  Continue to give them a responsibility even if you are online.  You will have to get creative, but as you build a community the students will feel like they are part of a family.  The goal is to show children that even in times of uncertainty there is a routine and a normal process that life has to go by.

Going into this new school year, we are all back to our first year of teaching. This is something NONE of us, family and teacher, has ever done before. So as you begin this year, be easy on yourself, be empathetic of the situations you will encounter, and above all else, remind yourself this is temporary and that everything is going to be ok. You can only do your best, families are also doing their best during this situation, so go in and do what you do----be the amazing teacher you are!  Support each other, be kind and do what you can!