COVID lessons Georgia teachers learned from 2020​

Published by Taylor Shaw on

COVID lessons Georgia teachers learned from 2020

Class is Back in Session

We published an article at the beginning of the school year that highlighted the lack of input teachers had when it was time for fall semester. As 2021 rolls on, I wanted to reach out to educators and ask them about their lessons learned, if any.

DeKalb Public Schools have decided to go entirely virtual for the first half of the school year. There was no in-person teaching, but the school days and hours remained the same. We asked a teacher at an elementary school (who, for her safety, has remained anonymous), about how she feels regarding online teaching.

Teacher prepared for the first day of school.
Taylor Shaw | Avant-Youth
Lessons from an Elementary Teacher

“I think because everybody’s online there are lots of delays with technology,” she said. The issue is Zoom cannot handle the daily traffic from educators and non-educators. Therefore, students cannot log in, video chats lag or cause students to miss important information.

Lesson 1: Suggest a different, more reliable video chat platform to your administration like SkypeGoogle Duo or Microsoft Team.

Lesson 2: Plan for daily technical problems. Always have an alternate assignment.

When asked what assistance parents can provide to help their child and teachers succeed during this challenging time she stated, “Parents should read the emails teachers send. They should log on to the online platform to help with asynchronous learning.” It also familiarizes parents with the site so they can help troubleshoot issues their child may encounter.

Lesson 3: Provide instructional videos for parents so they can get to know their child’s online platform. Examples include Eclass and Clever.

Lessons from a faculty member

A ESOL teacher employed by Gwinnett County works with students who speak little to no English. She is responsible for getting non-English-speaking students to read and write at grade level. She does this by giving direct and personalized instructions to each student. 

However, now with digital learning, she’s witnessed parents and older siblings offering too much assistance during the lesson which taints the data she is collecting. “The downfall to the kids being at home is the parents are doing their work.”

Lesson 4: Instruct family members to only observe and monitor.

Lesson 5: Create a short presentation to help family members better understand how to assist the child without taking away the learning experience from the student. 

Lashanta is also responsible for in-person students. She has given her in-person students some responsibility to help minimize the spread of the virus. 

She instructs the children to leave their seats pulled out, so she can remember which desks need to be sanitized. Hand sanitizing is mandatory before entering her classroom, and student do not share material.

Lesson 6: Assign students a crate or cubby to act as a locker. Each student will put their school materials such as workbooks, computer/tablets and headphones in their assigned “lockers.”

Lessons from a Bus Driver

We included school staff members and not only faculty like administration or teachers, as they help keep the school day going too. 

I talked to, B.J. Hawkins, a bus driver for Gwinnett County Public Schools and asked him to describe a typical workday and how it differs from last year. One difference is the frequency of sanitizing. 

“Most drivers have at least three routes and they have been instructed to wipe seats after each route.” 

I was also informed that athletic directors have been ordering extra buses to keep the kids one to a seat as much as possible. Overall, he felt parents complied to the rules, and the administration helped with the transition and maneuvering around COVID-19.

Lesson 7: If you are a teacher that is involved with extracurricular activities, plan and organize with other staff to keep the kids and volunteering adults safe.

Lesson 8: Suggest parents give bus drivers sanitizing tools such as hand sanitizer or Clorox wipes.

The pandemic has completely changed the education system in a short period. Some people in education may not be experiencing drastic changes, while others are experiencing the exact opposite. No one has a magic formula to create fluidity within an organization. However, this past fall semester has allowed teachers and administration to learn from their mistakes to create a more effective system.

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Taylor Shaw

Taylor Shaw

Taylor Shaw graduated from the University of Georgia with a B.A. in Sociology. She is currently attending the University of Colorado to work on her journalism degree and has aspirations of running her own magazine and writing children’s books.

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