Solo Situation

I am a middle school science teacher struggling during this “new normal.” How am I supposed to create all of these online lessons when I am the only person in my building teaching certain specific science classes?
M., IA

So how are schools in smaller, rural, and/or lower-income areas handling curriculum development when they do not have extra staff like curriculum coordinators and helping teachers to assist with operational tasks affecting teaching? What comes to mind is the “3 Cs Approach”: Connect, Communicate, and Contribute.

Speak to building, district, and educational service center staff to connect to other teachers in your field. Also, use professional organizations, such as NSTA, because they have online communities with teachers who can collaborate with you.

Once connected, don’t be shy: Reach out to and start communicating with new colleagues. The beauty of communicating with teachers online is that you receive information, resources, and ideas from a global perspective. When we communicate globally, we identify issues of diversity and equity that are not just cultural, but also economic, regional, and opportunistic. Many disparities in student interest in the sciences results from lack of exposure. With so many virtual experiences, the priority of greater student exposure becomes a factor that can help reduce the achievement gap.

Finally, don’t be scared to contribute your ideas. You will never know how a lesson, lab, or activity will develop if you don’t share them with colleagues. During this pandemic, we have learned that helping one another is the only way to survive. We are not designed to work in isolation. The ability to communicate through technology has been our saving grace.

Science education is now more crucial than ever because the fundamentals of science are leading the research to end the pandemic.

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