The National Education Association (NEA) gets a head start on giving thanks each year, the week before the Thanksgiving holiday, by celebrating American Education Week. Nyack College School of Education Dean, Dr. JoAnn Looney, graciously chose to put the spotlight on two professors who exemplify the heart and strength of her faculty. During this time of a global pandemic, conflicting views on how to deliver education safely is just one topic that is top of mind.
Professor of Education and Director of Childhood and Childhood Special Education Dr. Christine Willard and Assistant Professor of Education Miriam Velez have pulled from the deep wells of their own lives to pour into the lives of countless Nyack teacher candidates. They share the following from the wealth of their knowledge and wisdom for educators.
Keeping Calm in Chaotic Times
• Remind yourself that you have acquired so many fabulous skills, and many that are transferrable to other careers: communication, organization, technology, mediation, counseling,
• Celebrate your resiliency by planning something special for yourself each week.
• Be sure to set boundaries so your personal and professional life don’t “slosh” into each other
• Enjoy humorous moments and perhaps start to blog about your life as a teacher during COVID.
• Know that the Lord is in control and His timing is perfect. Thank Him that He made you capable to support kids during this time.
• Pray, meditate on God’s Word and remember to cultivate an attitude of thanksgiving.
• Keep control of the things you can control. As teachers, we cannot fix all problems but we can offer some solutions.
• Listen to music and sing along. Allow students to listen to music. This may enhance their listening skills.
• Keep a diary describing in detail your stressful events and your feelings. This will help you explore your emotions. You may also keep a gratitude journal focusing on the positive resources you already have in your life.
• Teach for affective learning focusing on building your students feelings, emotions, and self-efficacy.
• Build emotional bridges by identifying the needs of your students.
• Include weekly lessons on Social Emotional Learning to help students cope with feelings of isolation.
Team Talk Between Teachers and Parents
• Parents and teachers can form relationships with library support staff to optimize children’s learning.
• Teachers can make assignments highly “relational,” in that children will need to engage family members in order to complete assignments, such as math activities or book readings.
• Teachers can help parents by sharing/teaching them advocacy skills on behalf of their children. This is especially important for special needs and ENL children.
• Create a net of emotional support by listening to the family’s thoughts and concerns.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created a world we have never experienced in every area of our lives. Educators are clearly among our frontline essential workers. We applaud the men and women at the head of classrooms and those administrating school buildings for your commitment and your courage. Happy American Education Week!
Nyack’s School of Education is accredited by the Council for Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP). Learn about the undergraduate and graduate degree programs Nyack offers.