Dr. Theresa A. Moseley is a United States Army Veteran, United Nations Peace Ambassador, Retired Educator, Motivational Speaker, 10x-Best Selling Author, 3x International Best-Selling Author, a 3x-Award Winning Educator, and a United Nations Peace Ambassador. Dr. Moseley has been featured in several magazines, including Women of Dignity, Speakers Magazine, Tap-In, Vision and Purpose Magazine, and The Black Family and Called2Inspire Magazine. She has been featured in over 300 news articles worldwide, including CEO Weekly and Voyage ATL. Dr. Moseley was recognized as one of the Top 50 Courageous Women in Business, Leadership, and Entertainment. Dr. Moseley was awarded the Women of Heart Award in London, England for her work on world peace. Dr. Moseley will also be honored for her excellence in Entrepreneurship and Empowerment at the Women Doing It Big Gala in Scottsdale, AZ. Dr. Moseley is the owner and Chief Executive Officer of TAM Creating Ambassadors of Peace LLC.
The school administrator position has always been challenging as the standard operating principles of schools have changed from decade to decade. The current change needed after the Pandemic will be one of the most difficult transitions due to the impact COVID-19 had on families that had to have online education. Educators are finding challenges in helping students achieve their full potential after online education. There were disparities in education prior to COVID -19 by socio-economic status. During virtual learning, the gap has widened, ultimately impacting the graduation rate.
Virtual Learning Challenges
Teachers had a difficult time engaging the students online. Some teachers with various instructional strategies were able to engage the students and were successful with student-to-student discourse. According to some teachers I met with, the number one issue was getting all the students engaged in the lesson. Responding to questions was challenging and encouraging group participation through chat was also difficult for some. Inadequate internet was a challenge, and students who were used to two school meals a day were hungry. Schools provide more than just education. Effective schools address the cognitive and affective domains of students. Schools have services to meet the basic needs of students that they could not access at home. The students with special needs that needed individualized instruction based on their Individual Education Plan (IEP) were significantly impacted.
High school students missed personal connections, homecoming, prom, senior activities, field trips, and playing team sports. This led to some depression and mental anxiety for some students. Students had to rebuild relationships with their friends, teachers, and peers after they returned to school. In some cases, violence increased in schools. Around the country, the number of student fights increased. The administrators had to deal with the in-school violence as well as the potential threat from outsider violence with a record number of school shootings for 2022. It’s important for schools to identify those students struggling with trauma or anxiety to get them assistance before they lose control. Communicating with families is key as assisting parents with school resources and outside resources to help their children.
“For our schools to address all the needs of the students and staff after virtual learning, they need to start with assessing where every student is individually in every content area as well as implementing social-emotional learning. Determine if a learning gap exists and develop a plan to get those students back on track. “
School Stakeholders Support
Teacher professional development is very key. A tool kit of instructional strategies to differentiate instruction and develop lesson plans will help meet the needs of the students on track and those that are not. School guidance counselors, school psychologists, and other community support need to support any students that exhibit signs of trauma or post-traumatic stress. It’s very important that all students are nurtured, feel safe, and know where to go to find help in schools. It’s also important not to forget the teachers. The teachers are the unsung heroes of COVID-19. As they prepared lesson plans for their classes, many had children of their own they had to attend to. After online learning parents realized the impact teachers had on their children and were more grateful for their work. In some cases, parent communication increased as the teacher had to prepare the parents to support their kids at home. On the other hand, the pandemic has led to the resignation of teachers, early retirements, and teacher shortage.
These are unprecedented times in education. School administrators must develop trust within their school community and address all the areas of concern. This will also help them retain teachers. It’s important that they are transparent on data, safety, and the overall academic achievement of all students. Administrators need to be intentional in interacting with their staff and gathering feedback from all stakeholders in the school. Showing integrity, maintaining open communication, being consistent, and showing commitment to equity and excellence are important.
Finally, one of the most important things a school administrator can do is turn their attention inward and take care of themselves. The wellness of the school administrator will enable them to fully support the school community. It’s also important for the school administrator to revisit their core values and beliefs, school vision and mission, and triangulate the data for clarity and next steps. They must develop systems and structures that will help them monitor and evaluate the overall performance of the school. The affective and cognitive domains of all students must be addressed to have equity and excellence in education after COVID-19.