Educators, you’ve spent the past few months working hard to support your students  You’ve reinvented months’ worth of lessons, adapted to a virtual setting, and more — all while doing a whole lot of learning and pivoting along the way. Taking stock of learnings can help take on new challenges and move forward with confidence. As we gear up for another landmark school year, we wanted to take some time to reflect on the good, the difficult, and the sometimes hilarious moments that teachers have experienced during remote teaching. So, we asked our community on Instagram: “What’s the number one thing you’ve learned from distance teaching this past school year?” Here’s what they had to say:

  • @kellyastrick — “I’ve gotten to know certain kids better than I ever would have by doing one-on-one Zoom calls. It’s been great getting that weekly time to let the student just talk!” 
  • @makeahappymoment — “I learned that my students are dedicated and patient. It took me a few lessons to figure out how to change my video so that the math problems that I was writing on the dry erase board were not backwards. They’re so patient and kind.”
  • @amandafarmer30 — “It’s encouraged me to find new resources and upped my technology game!”
  • @itzmeganjay — “I’ve worked on my fear of contacting parents. I’ve learned about so many amazing resources that I can utilize in the classroom as well. Also, being able to see students’ pets over Zoom has brought them so much joy so I love that too!”
  • @runnergirlslp — “I’ve finally learned how to give control to students for interactive therapy!”
  • @caterinananos — “Pushing myself out of my comfort zone. Making videos to post was something I never thought I could or ever would do. Thanks to a great team of teachers and an amazing principal, it not only became possible it became enjoyable!”
  • @teach_me_to_teach — “I see my students managing their own time better and not needing their parents to do everything for them now!”
  • @treasures.within.ones.heart — “It’s so important to check in with each student to make sure they are okay mentally/emotionally. And also to check in with yourself.”
  • @reynay1 — “My quiet students found their voice over remote learning (they had much more to say and with more confidence). Parents commented how they now understood the process after watching some video lessons, I was forced to think outside of the box and was driven by student’s social emotional needs without worry of assessments, report cards, etc.”
  • @nwillia — “I learned that my school which has laptops for all students and tech classes — which we as teachers had to fight for — makes us unique in our huge district. This remote learning has shown me how inequitable our district is and we have a lot of work to do. Too many students had to work with paper packets while others were connected to technology and online lessons created by district staff.”

The transition to distance learning has been a monumental undertaking for educators around the country. But even in the midst of uncertainty and chaos, many educators have found new ways to connect and engage with students. While there are still challenges ahead, we hope that you can take some of these insights from your fellow teachers with you into the new school year.