Teacher recruitment - both at the k-12, as well as college level - will be facing new challenges. Skill sets which in the past were ranked as "nice to haves" on job requirement lists have become requirements. Online learning and an aptitude for adapting to new and unfamiliar technologies are top of mind for most hiring authorities, while online-learning support roles are being added to already strained school budgets. Since early March, the COVID - 19 pandemic has created a new abnormal as everyday routine shifted to making homes the new office and classroom space. At the beginning of this change, school systems were encouraged to implement remote learning for the remainder of the year.
Along with that: new costs, and less money.
With average statewide revenue shortages estimated to range from 10-20% per state, schools will have increasingly less budget to spend - money which will be called upon to cover costs for online learning LMS tools such as Blackboard. (Close to 1400 new "learning managment support" roles were added to Indeed over the past 14 days, with the majority being added in the past 7 days). Layoffs will be determined by seniority, with most substitute and teaching assistant roles largely eliminated.
According to Education Week, schools are slow to plan for fall hiring:
'“Our staff who work in supporting districts in educator recruitment said they have not discussed this question with districts yet so we don’t have a lot of answers,” said Alison May, a spokesperson for the Delaware Department of Education. She emphasized that Delaware educators are prioritizing planning and preparing to support students and educators in the event schools are closed for an extended period of time.'
Additional research by the Learning Policy Institute points to a potential outflux of teaching positions.
A 15 percent reduction in state education funding could lead to the loss of more than 300,000 teaching positions, according to an analysis from the Learning Policy Institute.
As remote learning has brought challenges to the classroom, here are a few takeaways:
Tech has played a vital role in the classroom, encouraging new and innovative tools for learning. The rapid shift to mass online learning platforns such as Blackboard have forced educators to adapt to these innovations en-masse. Zoom served as a bridge for the spring semester, and became the new classroom as this provided interaction for teachers and students to continue a loose form of learning and classroom instruction. In a EdWeek Market Brief survey, math and English teachers noted that video conferencing was an effective tool, as well. Google Docs and Microsoft Office also became important in terms of student collaboration. This will formalize in the 2020-2021 school year as many campuses will remain closed, and public schools look to offer schedules of alternating one-day in school, one-day online for students, to lower the bodies in buildings at any given time, and to accommodate much smaller classroom sizes. Teaching assistant roles will be largely eliminated to make up for budget shortfalls, and to make way for new tech-support positions within the remaining budget.
The “New” School Day
With rules and regulations being implemented throughout the pandemic, school systems will have to redesign the day to day activities for students and staff members. To continue to promote social distancing, school officials must reconsider ways to adapt to the new changes in order to keep students and teachers safe. Creating a structured plan for schools will assist in working to allow for a safe learning environment for all. EdWeek has shared an outline regarding recommendations for safety precautions within a school.
Teachers Response to Fall School Year
Teachers have been faced with the challenge of reconstructing classroom lessons to designing online learning for students across elementary school, middle school, high school and college. As uncertainty remains steady, teachers have started to consider alternatives for the fall if remote learning continues. Larry Ferlazzo, a high school teacher in Sacramento writes about the numerous changes that will take place in order to ensure the safety of students, teachers and staff members. With the potential of balancing online and in classroom learning, technology will remain as a strong feature in delivering curriculum materials and instruction.
Students Reflection on Remote Learning
When it comes to remote learning, it is important to consider student responses to course structure and ways to improve. For some, the transition to remote learning was the first time some students experienced this style of course delivery. An assistant professor from University of Wisconsin at Whitewater’s surveyed students to hear about their thoughts on remote learning. The survey was two parts, one at the beginning of remote learning and the second offering responses after the semester had closed. A key element of remote learning that was highlighted from the college students was that all agreed that there should be a “thoughtful mix of flexibility and structure.”
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