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Road map to help future teachers thrive during this time of need

Updated: Oct 26, 2022

So, your college courses just went online and you don’t know where to start? Did your student teaching get cut short? Now what?

This one is for all of the future teachers out there. We want to support and show ya some love during this tremendous time of learning and leading. As future teachers during this time of need, let’s take this time to lead. I have a road map for success for you all to consider. But, before we set out on our journey we must pack the car and get it ready, right? Just like we need to make sure we have enough gas in the car and a destination to go we must make sure that we take care of ourselves and set up a schedule and routine for ourselves to tackle this new normal.

⛽ Fill up your tank:

Three tips to fill your tank, get a routine together for the weekdays, set up a schedule, and take time for you. It is important to set up a new routine for this new normal. If you are taking classes try to keep to that schedule and routine.

  • Set up your study space and area so it is in a consistent place each time. Make sure you are set up ergonomically correct. That you can watch the classes and participate without getting uncomfortable.

  • Draw out a schedule for the day, week, or month to refer to, reference, and edit. Add in due dates for projects, tests, papers, etc.

  • Get up around the same time

  • Get dressed and get ready for the class like you actually going to class (cause you are, even virtually)

  • Plan your to-do list. There are lots of edtech tools that can help you (Microsoft to do, One Note agenda template, and Google Keep are a few of my favorites). Give yourself grace when completing your to-do list. Don’t feel like you have to get it all done in one day, friends pace yourself and set aside time to get your stuff done. Try to estimate how much time it will take to complete each task and then add 20 minutes (just in case)!

  • Eat breakfast and get your coffee/tea ready to roll for class

  • Make a schedule that includes class times (try to get into your virtual class 5 minutes early so you set up and ready to go)

  • Include study times and times to work on projects

  • Schedule in time for yourself and do something that you enjoy

  • Schedule in time to connect with family and friends (virtually host a coffee chat or brunch, game night, movie party, or host a dance party with shared playlist etc).

👋 Get your crew

Every road trip is better with friends, right? Imagine that you put your mixed tape (or CD) in the tape deck and get ready to ride! We've heard the term professional learning network (PLN) thrown around in classes. Or maybe you heard a few professors tell you that you needed one. You may be asking yourself, "Why? Why do I need one more account?" We all need people to support, encourage, challenge, and push us to be an educator of excellence. A PLN is available to help, support, lift you up, challenge, and be there to listen and bounce ideas off of. Get started creating a PLN now so you have that support system available to you even after graduation.

An administrator wants to see what you are learning about and how you are applying that knowledge to help kids! So, tweet out that great bulletin board you made or share a pic on Instagram of that hands-on activity you did with your 3rd-grade field class. Share your reflections on the biology lesson that didn't go so well and ask for suggestions from your community. Pin a picture of a meaningful takeaway from a class to document your learning.

A PLN is like having access to a mentor 24/7. Using your PLN to help you get ideas, resources, tools, and tips are like having a teaching mentor available to you anytime and anywhere. Post a question, join a Twitter chat, engage in conversation and there will likely be someone there to guide you. Current educators and administrators are excited to help you along the path of becoming an educator of excellence. They want to train up the next generation of educators.

Additional information about PLNs

🔎 Chart a course

It is important to take learning into your own hands, so let’s take the wheel and chart a course into your own learning journey. Now is a great time to take learning into your own hands and engage in content that you want to learn more about. Pick an area of interest and dive deep. For example, you can watch archived and live webinars here are a few places to get you started:

If watching webinars are not your jam, then consider reading all that you can. Use access to your university or college library and get articles on a topic that interests you and dig deeper. You may also want to check out the OER Commons and OER Educause for a variety of topics in education.

Friends, professional development doesn’t have to be a sit and get lectures and presentations delivered by your district. With mobile devices being ubiquitous nowadays professional development is just a click away and you are off to the races. There are so many amazing professional development resources out there for you to indulge your teacher brain in! We are all busy professionals, where can we find time to engage in quality resources and learning? That is where professional development on the go comes in! Professional development on the go are resources that you can use while you are on the go. These are some of my go-to’s when it comes to commuting or traveling. So it makes sense that these tools are ones that you can listen to in your earbuds or in your car. Let’s begin with podcasts.

Podcasts are bite-sized professional development on a variety of strategies, techniques, and best practices in education. There are podcasts out there that can help you reach your students in elementary, engage them during middle school, and help them apply their learning in high school. There are podcasts for edtech coaches, instructional coaches, future teachers, administrators, librarians, and even higher ed professors! Some of the podcasts that I love to listen to include:

So fire up your favorite podcast player (google play, iTunes, Castbox, Overcast, Spotify, or I heart radio - to name a few) and start listening today. Be sure to subscribe to the shows for FREE to get notified when the latest episode drops. By keeping a list of podcasts in rotation your professional development will never be boring - there is always variety, relevant content, and ideas you can implement right away.

🖥 Destination Update your digital portfolio / resume

One of our first stops on our road trip is to update your content. Now is the perfect time to blow some dust off of your resume. Update it with experiences that you have had over the summer or semester.

Teachers, administrators, and other education stakeholders want to see what you have been learning, sharing, and doing in the classroom. One way to showcase all your edu-awesomeness is by creating a digital portfolio. Create a digital portfolio now! Some tips to jazz up your digital portfolio click here. It is never too early or too late to start. If you already have a digital portfolio collecting dust, blow some dust off it, jazz it up and make it sparkle. Add in assignments that you are proud to showcase.

Some few more tips are:

  • Get it out there: Link your digital portfolio to your professional social media accounts (Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn).

  • Consider adding a link to your digital portfolio to your resume via QR code. Spread the word!

  • Already have a digital portfolio that you created for a class? Then update it. Change the words to the present tense. Update it from an academic and student perspective to a professional perspective – you are a professional, time to make your digital resume sound like it.

  • Don’t just let it sit online – use it. For instance, when you are asked by a future employer how you managed a classroom, or what ideas you have to integrate technology, pull out your digital portfolio, and show an example!

  • Google yourself often – you want to know what is out there about you.

☑ Destination Get certified

Our final stop on this road trip is to take the time to certify yourself in areas related to education. For example, there are many edtech companies that offer you certifications using their edtech tools.

Ambassador programs / Certification programs through specific edtech tools:

PD and Best Practices

Friends, no matter where your journey takes you to please know that you can make a difference, you will get through this stronger and dare I say I better teacher for it? You are doing the best that you can with what you have and we are stronger together. If you need any help please reach out on social media @SFecich! We can do this - together!

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