Thursday, May 14, 2020

Remote Teaching and Learning: Restructuring Roles and Responsibilities?

As I embark on month three of remote teaching and learning, I am aware of a need to re-look at roles and responsibilities in the school sphere. I'm sure I'm not the only educator thinking about this. As I think about it, I am thinking about who is doing what and what roles support students, educators, and families best.

Leader and Cheerleader
Some leaders have been amazing cheerleaders during this time. They take your questions seriously, support your needs, and challenge you with positivity. These leaders have been so important during this time--they help to keep you in the game of teaching well as well as improving and developing your repertoire of teaching/learning skills and knowledge. We need leaders who are good cheerleaders, leaders who have the big picture and can prioritize what's important and how to motivate and lead in that direction.

Tech Support
The move to virtual school has meant that we are all relying on the tech department more than ever. I think this move begs us to think deeply about how to re-think tech support departments and personnel in schools. Clearly we will continue to need tremendous tech support in all kinds of ways--what does this mean for staffing, professional learning, and purchasing going forward?

In some cases, we may find that there are too many consultants and not enough teachers. I  have always felt that schools have to be careful about not hiring too many people who don't directly serve children--we need most people in schools to work directly with children. For the most part, if you don't have that direct interaction with children or families, you quickly lose sight of what is most important.

All Hands on Deck
To divide and conquer and spread the responsibility for direct coaching for students with most personnel is critical at this time. Again, most roles in schools should directly serve students. When you have a staff of dedicated professional educators, you don't need lots of middle managers to tell them what to do.

Our librarian has played a critical role during this time. Like tech support, her ability to lead us to great and trusted resources online has been invaluable. This move to remote learning has accentuated the need for skilled, dedicated librarians in every school.

Inspiring, Organized Leaders
We have some amazing inspiring and organized leaders who have made the move to remote school about as good as it gets given the situation. This is positive.

Teaching Teams
Teamwork has been similarly necessary during this time. There's no way we could do what we are doing without working together with the focus on what's best for our students. Schools need to work to foster more and greater teamwork. It's a good time to re-look at stand-alone positions and figure out how to make those positions more team-oriented. A strong team like a strong culture is better suited to flexibly and positively respond to challenging situations.