A Happy Balance in Education

Teacher burnout, resignation and retirement is at an all time high.  Teachers were burnt out before the Pandemic so adding this unprecedented situation to the mix and it has been exacerbated to the nth degree.  At a time when teachers and students should have been given a grace period, not only was no grace period given, but additional demands and expectations were piled on.  What can be done to keep teachers from leaving the career they once loved and to attract younger individuals to the profession?

Parents spend an unprecedented amount of time with their children in the last few years.  One, or two, parents were available all day, everyday to help their children with every little thing they needed help with.  It is wonderful that families got to spend quality time together, but it also created an adult-dependent population of preschool and school age children.  

Students were very happy to get back to school so they could be with their friends and have time together.  They, however, were not prepared for the full day of learning that comes with a day in school.  Demands that they didn’t have to deal with for over a year were suddenly thrust upon them and many of them decided, “Hey, I’d rather be home with mom and dad.”  

Parents, in turn, feel the pressure of their children not wanting to go to school.  They think, “The teachers must have unrealistic expectations or they aren’t being kind to my child if my child doesn’t want to go to school.”  They never think, “Oh…they rather be home spending quality time with me and getting help with everything.”  How can we balance out this situation?

There are great resources to help parents with the transition back to in-person learning.  Supporting their children while promoting independence is the best of both worlds.  Reinforcing positive behaviors in relation to school can also be a great way to help their child thrive at school.  EZStickerbook can help with this reinforcement.

Teachers can set up goals for students to work on specifically focusing on the transition back to school or if they are having a hard time with the transition.  This could include independence goals like zipping coats, cleaning up after themselves, using their manners, opening their lunches, etc.  These are all things that may have been done for them when at home so when they come to school, they expect someone to do those things for them.

Goals can also be set up with an academic focus also. For example, finishing work in a timely manner, following directions, listening attentively, etc. When students see that what they do in the classroom is noticed and reinforced, seeing those stickers appear in the stickerbook, will encourage them to be in school and do their best work.

Teachers want their students to be happy, invested, lifelong learners.  Supporting them whenever possible in the classroom will create independent, responsible students who enjoy coming to school everyday because they want to learn as well as see their friends.  This happy balance will keep teachers, students and parents happy and engaged. 

 Kim LaCoste

Kim LaCoste

Kim LaCoste has worked in early childhood education for over 30 years. She has a BS in Elementary Education, a MS in Early Childhood Education and a CAGS in School Leadership. When not in her kindergarten classroom, she likes to read, spend time with her dogs, go to the beach and spend time with her son and husband. Using technology in her classroom is one of her passions.