Surviving Teaching

It’s natural that as education theory progresses, teachers have to learn, adapt, and make changes to their instruction. Just one example – as curriculum and resources implement principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL), teachers obviously need to adjust their lessons and teaching techniques accordingly. Most teachers know this comes with the territory, and happily exercise their professionalism in putting in the extra time that is needed to make sure their students are getting the best instruction possible.

However, teacher-time is being squeezed on multiple fronts especially in the area of technology, tightening budgets, and in many areas of the North America, increased class sizes. Just one example – in Alberta, recent severe cutbacks to distance learning have resulted, in many jurisdictions and schools, teachers having to pick up the slack to design and deliver distance education programs that were previously handled by outreaches or third parties such as the Alberta Distance Learning Centre.

I certainly don’t have all the answers to these increasing demands on teacher time – but I am very, very concerned that we are approaching a tipping point where the capacity of teachers to absorb, adjust, multi-task and adapt to additional tasks will soon exceed their professional and human capacity. When that point is reached, education, and ultimately students, will suffer… has that point been passed already?

Can we do better? Can we respect the capacity of teachers as the demands on them increase? Well, I’m not smart enough to answer those questions! But I can point out some good websites and commentary that deal with these issues. However you personally deal these demands, just make sure that you take good care, and make sure you take some time to reflect, and be good to yourself.

  • The “Shift” In Education – this is a very thoughtful blog that primarily focusses on the increasing role that technology plays in education, and how teachers can adapt and cope.
  • – Edudemic specializes in connecting education and technology, but in a way that won’t take up a bunch of your time. The posts at Edudemic are written to bring you the maximum amount of facts and logistics for implementation, with the minimum amount of verbiage.
  • Tools That Do Not Make a Teacher’s Life Easier – this commentary expresses important concerns about tech integration very eloquently.
  • Is Technology Making Us Lonely? – while this TED talk is a more generally pertains to how we all relate to each in an increasingly technological world, I think it also has implications for how we as teachers communicate with each other and our students.
  • Teachers Benefit From Mindfulness Training – OK, you might think this is a bit “new-agey”, but hey, you can’t argue with results!

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