Educators have been working diligently to lead their communities and continue teaching during the pandemic. However, the ever-changing landscape has made it difficult for administrators and teachers to collaborate about what strategies are actually making a difference for student learning. Understanding what’s working is not only crucial to solving problems, but also for mitigating the stress on teachers themselves. In the State of Education Report, TpT surveyed thousands of educators to understand their top concerns and the promising practices that help them address the challenges of teaching today. Let’s dive in to learn more.

3 Strategies for Teaching During Uncertain Times

In TpT’s State of Education Report, we asked teachers to share what strategies have been most effective in helping them meet this moment. Read on to learn more about the promising practices that teachers say they’ve been relying on to teach during this school year.

1. Leverage technology to personalize learning. 

The uncertainty brought forth by the pandemic drove many teachers to learn and implement new digital tools. It also prompted many districts to invest in providing teachers and students with devices, internet connectivity, and digital tools. Now, teachers rely on that technology to reach and teach students regardless of whether they’re teaching in-person, hybrid, or remotely. In fact, many teachers have continued to use digital tools and materials, even after returning to in-person instruction, because the flexibility of these tools allows them to effectively personalize learning and address unfinished learning.

In fact, teacher confidence in the use of digital tools is up with 78% of teachers surveyed by TpT reporting feeling confident using digital tools to engage students. This shift has happened quickly, especially when we consider that learning management systems were optional and video conferencing tools were not utilized by most teachers in 2019. 

FURTHER READING: How to Use Technology for Differentiation and Small Group Instruction

2. Focus on whole child learning.

A second promising practice highlighted by teachers is social-emotional learning. Otherwise known as SEL, it’s a framework to help students learn how to manage emotions, improve social skills, and make responsible choices. After a year filled with uncertainty, and in some cases trauma, educators have implemented a wide range of strategies to support the development of the whole child by leveraging SEL. 

Many are creating calming spaces in their classrooms or utilizing check-ins, read a-louds, collaborative exercises, and journaling. Teachers, counselors, and social workers are also explicitly teaching students vocabulary to identify feelings and regulate their emotions. 

3. Maintain a routine to get students back on track. 

Finally, teachers emphasized the importance of routines as a best practice. With the many disruptions of the pandemic, teachers, students, and their families want reliable routines restored. Students feel a sense of safety, security, and confidence when their schedules are predictable and their routines are familiar. (This is even more vital for children who experience disabilities.) To do this, teachers utilize visual schedules, teach clear expectations, and strive to maintain consistent classroom routines when students are in-person or learning remotely. 

As schools continue to meet the ever-changing needs of these uncertain times, educators are employing several strategies to adapt quickly to meet students’ needs leveraging the knowledge, skills, and lessons they’ve learned since March 2020. For more actionable takeaways around supporting positive student behavior, download the full State of Education Report by TpT.

Eighty-percent of teachers using TpT School Access® say it gives them the resources they need to do their jobs well.* Learn more.

*Source: May 2020 survey of over 9,500 teachers using TpT School Access