What teachers learned in 2020 | Survey results and stories

Primary teacher leading online class

2020 was a doozy.

Or rather several doozies teaming up on us all at once.

Because a raging pandemic is one thing. Having to rise to the challenge of improvised hybrid classes, relentless media scrutiny, and being the ball on the political football field…

Well, that takes the inner steel of a hero.

And we wanted to hear straight from the mouths of those heroes, and you (very kindly) answered.

Here’s what you had to say:

Resilience, patience, and adaptability were the most important things you learned

Best quotes

“You can teach an old dog new tricks. Lots of them.”

“How to take one moment, one minute, one step at a time, instead of looking at the whole mountain that needs to be climbed.”

“That my mental health must come first and relationships, in all senses, are extremely valuable and important.”

COVID-19 brought home (literally – it took it right into students’ homes) a few open secrets about teachers – they can and will get it done one way or another.

And for 26% of teachers, the lesson hit home, as they reported that they’ve made ‘stronger connections with parents’ during COVID and lockdown.

What’s next?

Taking these lessons into 2021. Teacher mental health took a hit from lockdown, and while we wait for governments and education authorities to improve their support, just remember – your mental health comes first.

Strengthening student relationships was your biggest professional achievement

Best quotes

“Making genuine connections with students is one of the most valuable aspects of education, this became so incredibly evident when all the social aspects of society were stripped away.”

“I learned that building relationships with students is vital for their success, even more so in a pandemic. Educators rise to the challenge even through adversity they always do everything in their power to meet the needs of their students.”

“…I realized the close bonds that I could still form with students even when I’ve only ever met them on the internet. I realized this when one of my students chose to go back to physical school and it felt like we were losing each other while saying goodbye on our last video meet. We still email back and forth now.”

Despite different rooms and lots of Zooms, you managed to make your connections to your students even stronger!

This achievement was closely followed by increased use of eLearning tools, and general professional growth.

What’s next?

All the insights and tactics you’ve gained from time spent away from students can be transitioned back into the classroom or hybrid classroom.

But what’s more important than that is to share what you’ve learned.

Whether it’s an online forum, our Facebook page, or with the rest of the school staff, you can help another teacher that might not be doing as well as you.

These were the stories you wanted to share

Best quotes

“I successfully provided PD for 35 staff over 2 days.”

“My students stayed behind after school to connect.”

“Hearing how excited my students are to be at school and work with me online and in-class. Positive feedback from parents has been the highlight of 2020 for me.”

“When my grade 7 Math class was eagerly sharing the mistakes they were making. They found their own errors and shared them with the class. Working to have them realize that mistakes are normal and mistakes mean you are learning. Too many students have “mistake anxiety” and that day showed my efforts were proving fruitful!”

“I had a shy student ask me to call her on Microsoft Teams Screen Share. For an hour and a half I demonstrated the mathletics modules she was having difficulty with and she asked/answered questions – she then finished the course on her own and got 100% and 73% on her final exams)”

So what’s in store for 2021?

We’re not sure – but we do know that as hard as it was, and is, and might yet be, teachers are still out there taking charge.

From everything you’ve told us, there’s 3 important things to take away:

  1. Keep taking care of your mental health!
  2. Maintain and develop those student relationships
  3. Remember and share your achievements – that’s why we do what we do.
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