A choice? Not one teacher would choose the current situation that we find ourselves facing. Not one teacher would choose to teach from the kitchen table rather than be with students. Yet, teachers across our state and nation have chosen to answer the call to action. They have chosen to be there for their students, not knowing the full definition of “there” in this reality. We find ourselves in the great unknown, only knowing that our students continue to depend upon us as they face a new reality as well.
Being in uncharted territory, this new reality is forcing teachers everywhere to be more ingenious in their approaches. I’ve always considered myself an innovative teacher. Yet sadly, there is often a misconception of innovative ideas being synonymous with technological platforms. At this time when technology is the lifeline to our students, the lines between technology and innovation are becoming blurred. Although it is currently keeping us connected, removing some of the technology in order to provide a more equitable learning experience could be the most innovative approach we could take during these times.
Since we don’t know exactly what education should look like during this time of distance learning, let’s imagine what it could be. What if we revolutionized what place-based learning could look like when trying to accomplish learning at home? What if students engaged in authentic learning experiences that are relevant to their current environment? Identifying a problem that impacts their local neighborhood or community, such as erosion or recycling, and finding a solution can provide an authentic learning experience. This type of learning can connect students to a world that they are currently isolated from. It can allow them to appreciate, maybe even love, the roots from which their lives and beliefs have grown.