In my short time working for Hable, April has to go down as one of the most amazing months in my entire career. This is not so much to do with us as a company but rather everything to do with our customers.
In March, when COVID-19 hit the UK and schools were starting to realise that they would have to close, many of our customers got in touch to see how we could work together and get their teachers set up for remote teaching as quickly as possible. With the Easter holidays approaching at that time, schools spent the time before the holidays getting all the technical work in place, adjusting timetables and expectations. Then came what is often the biggest challenge around any change – planning for the training needed to get teachers ready to change the way that they teach to adapt to a new situation.
It’s at this point I want to highlight what a difference it is for teachers to switch to a remote teaching model. This is not just like simply working from home in any way, shape or form.
This is like learning to do your job in a completely different way in the space of 2 weeks, and I mean totally different.
Among the many challenges, the fact is that the pedagogical approaches a teacher uses in the classroom may not work at all in a remote environment. On top of this, the resources a teacher has designed for use in face-to-face lessons may no longer serve their purpose. Many teachers are not only having to learn how to navigate a completely new technology (such as Microsoft Teams) they are also having to learn a whole new way of doing their job, as well as recreating all the resources needed to deliver quality content to their pupils.
Think about that for a moment and try to imagine doing that yourself. It’s staggering!
It would be staggering to do it in 6 months, let alone the 2 weeks most teachers have had.
Once the holidays arrived, the schools I was working with kicked off their training programmes. Now remember, this is in the holidays when teachers are, in theory, not required to work. During April, I had 685 people attend my training sessions I was delivering to schools.
With some of the schools I work with, we offered a menu of sessions designed to give teachers a range of tools and skills they might need. It would have been easy for teachers to choose to sign up for only the basic skills training and not put the extra effort in, but that was not what we saw at all. We had teachers at all stages of their careers signing up to every session possible. The pedagogical discussions in the sessions I was involved in were fascinating. The questions were not ‘where do I click to do this’, it was ‘I am trying to achieve this, how can I best do it?’
Anyone who has ever trained people to use technology knows there are some people who just don’t considered themselves to be ‘tech people’ and can really struggle to pick up the skills needed to use new technologies. In this situation, it was these people who turned up time and again to training sessions, asked questions, came to drop-in sessions, watched videos and put in the practise to make sure they did the best they could.
The level of dedication these teachers showed to ensuring their pupils received the best possible education during this difficult time was so inspiring. I was lucky enough to work with a dedicated group of teachers over the month of April, but I know this same thing has been happening all over the world.
Let’s all take a moment to celebrate and recognise that teachers simply are amazing!
If you would like practical, hands-on guidance and training to get your team up and running on Microsoft Teams, please do get in touch and we can help you either remotely or through on-site training.