America’s Teachers Are Teaching Us All About Leadership Right Now
May 7, 2020
In a pre-pandemic world, working parents (including me) spent our days at work while our children spent theirs at school -- out of sight, if not out of mind. Now, nearly 75% of professionals are working from home, and more than half of us have children at home participating in distance learning. For the first time, we have a very clear view of what it really takes our teachers to teach our kids.
In a time when a typical school day is nowhere to be found, our teachers have had to adapt instantly to a range of new teaching methods, revise their curriculum to meet the needs of all students and figure out how to create meaningful connections with children using technology. As my husband and I struggle to help our middle school kids adapt to their new way of learning each and every day, it’s clear to me what a herculean effort it is for teachers in normal times, and certainly during this current crisis.
It’s extraordinary how teachers across the country are showing up for our kids -- with compassion, creativity and resilience -- even as they themselves are navigating a whole new world. It’s not just the students who are learning from our teachers right now: it’s all of us, as teachers are demonstrating valuable lessons we can apply to every profession.
Compassion. It’s the understanding that, although they still need to teach children curriculum, teachers across the country are also helping each student cope with a global crisis and learn how to learn online. Compassionate leadership is taking the time to pause and put yourself in someone else’s shoes for a moment, and then doing everything in your power to set them up for success.
Creativity. Lessons for Indianapolis Public Schools students in grades K–8 are being televised in partnership with a local TV station as part of a strategy to teach children at home during the pandemic. In our own house, we were tasked by our children’s PE teacher with a dance-off designed to get our kids moving. That’s creative problem solving -- a skill every professional should cultivate, no matter what our career.
Resilience. Kareem Neal, a special education teacher at Maryvale High in Arizona who typically has as many as four paraprofessionals supporting his classroom work, embodies what it means to be resilient in the face of a crisis. His special needs students all learn at different levels so, when online group learning proved to be impossible, he began one-on-one video sessions with each student and will do so for the remainder of the year.
As part of LinkedIn’s efforts to recognize teachers for Teacher Appreciation Week, I want to do more than just #ThankATeacher; I want to thank them all for their commitment and inspiration.
If you’re feeling inspired to develop your own compassion, creativity and resilience, LinkedIn Learning is offering nearly 300 courses for free on topics like building resilience, resourcefulness, mindfulness and more. We’ve also unlocked a free learning path to help educators adjust to teaching online.