Happy World Teachers Day!
Today, 5 October 2021, is world teachers’ day. We wish to take this opportunity to celebrate the remarkable contribution of teachers during the Covid-19 pandemic. Few professions have been disrupted as much as teaching. Schools around the world were forced to close. Teaching was pushed out of the classroom and onto the airwaves and the internet. Teachers showed incredible resilience, adaptability and ingenuity in staying in touch with their students, and keeping learning alive by whatever means they had to hand. Some countries already had well-established systems for online and distance learning, others were taking their first steps in this direction, but many had nothing in place, and teachers were forced to improvise. Systems responded quickly, rolling out distance learning solutions, developing and distributing digital content on different media, and in many countries the private sector and NGOs played an important role distributing devices, providing internet access, rolling out platforms.
And of course, teachers are much more than mere educational operatives. They are role models, guides and coaches for their students. They were called upon to provide psychological support to students suffering from isolation and difficult family situations, and many schools provided material support to students in the form of meals. And they are human beings too. They have themselves faced the same challenges, fears and uncertainties as everyone else during the pandemic, struggling to do their jobs, while caring for children at home, concerned about their elderly relatives, isolated from friends and family, and facing the risk and in some cases the reality of illness.
At the same time, the challenge and the disruption of the pandemic, has driven innovation. Teachers have had to adopt new technologies and new teaching methods to keep the education system going. They have forged new partnerships and networks for sharing ideas, approaches and materials. They have learnt from each other, and also from their students. Innovation ecosystems have emerged at local, national and international levels.
That is why ETF is launching, this week, a Community for Innovative Practitioners – a platform where innovation-minded teachers and trainers can come together to share ground-breaking approaches to teaching and learning, to find partners and resources and to work together. We don’t pretend that ‘innovation’ is the priority for every teacher and trainer – but we believe that there are many who will welcome the chance to meet like-minded educators who would like to try out new ways of teaching. Please take a look and see if you would like to join us.