Coronavirus and the Life of Regular Teachers: How to Help

Coronavirus is a deadly infection that has locked millions of people in their homes. The spread continues, and it’s unlikely that we will all return to normal life in the nearest future. That is why it becomes a vital necessity to adjust our new lifestyles to the demands of the quarantine, still continuing to learn and educate.

Teachers are stresses over the well-being and performance of their students and are coming up with various ways of teaching, even during the times of a lockdown.

But is there a chance to help teachers during these hard days? Even though they are not fighting at the forefront of the disease, they still fight with a lack of knowledge, and this process mustn’t be stopped. If you are also a teacher struggling with the ways to help students, this article is for you!

What Teachers and Tutors Have to Say

Many educators think that people feel helpless in times of a pandemic. And when they were asked what resources they could recommend; the answer was not about the materials. Those teachers said that they had to prepare lessons after a sudden school closure, so there were absolutely no materials they can advise. Actually, they would be happy if someone else recommended resources and materials that students could use online.

Educators were willing to find sources that could be easily shared with the students, whether in a printed version delivered by drop-offs or virtually. Over 80% urged to provide ‘do something’ materials that could be easily used remotely. And half of them asked for equity articles that aimed at Asian American students, who greatly suffer from the pandemic, feel stressed during the closure, and need help with learning online.

Additionally, we would like to share a range of requirements and needs that educators have mentioned in some surveys on the Web. First of all, they asked for online resources and platforms that could be shared with students. They also wanted emotional support both for teachers and students.

These educators asked for materials on social justice in the times of a pandemic. Tutors as well urged to get distance learning guidelines and physical resources for those who don’t have internet access. 

Another request was information on basic necessities and requirements for families who are trying to take the role of teachers. Below we have made a list of resources with links, which address all the above issues.

Apart from requests on specific materials and sources, there were also many calls on hope, collective responsibility, and the ways how to cope with anxiety and stress that so many people are facing at the moment.

One of the best ways to contribute to society and to help each other in times of a global quarantine is to meet the needs of the community. We are all in this together, so let’s be responsible and help those who are desperately looking for help. 

Resources for Students

Teaching Tolerance has a broad database of resources, which can be used for online learning and printing out. Their Student Text Library https://www.tolerance.org/classroom-resources/texts contains over 500 texts, including images, videos, reading, and others. All the files can be filtered by subject, topic, and grade level. The Film Kits https://www.tolerance.org/classroom-resources/film-kits contains documentaries and discussions for students of various academic levels. However, some of these materials require authorized access for copyright issues.

But it’s rather easy to create a free account whether you are a caregiver or a teacher. Educators are free to create group accounts for classes, sharing login, and password with schoolers. Another way to use the materials is to save PDF texts and send them to students via email. However, the most secure and convenient option is sending the materials through course management systems like Blackboard or Canvas.

In addition, Teaching Tolerance contains lessons, which can be adapted both for students with online access or without it. While we are still evaluating the efficiency of these resources, we strongly believe that any of the below will improve lesson planning:

  • Lessons, which are based on The Color of Law https://www.tolerance.org/search?query=%22the%20color%20of%20law%22&f%5B0%5D=facet_content_type%3Alesson book, may be much deeper and embrace such topics as segregation, racism, and discrimination;
  • The New Jim Crow https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/publications/teaching-the-new-jim-crow lessons cover the topics of criminal justice, which can help schoolers to understand the connection between injustices throughout centuries;
  • Classes on Digital literacy and virtual citizenship https://www.tolerance.org/digital-literacy-lessons are crafted for K-12 students, not depending on whether they have Internet access or not.

Do Something Classes

On their website, you can also find 34 ‘Do Something’ assignments https://www.tolerance.org/classroom-resources/student-tasks/do-something. The majority of them are adapted for learning from home. They are created to help students apply skills and knowledge in real-life conditions. Here are a few classes that we like the most:

  • Oral History Project https://www.tolerance.org/classroom-resources/student-tasks/do-something/oral-history-project. Here students can hold interviews at home to learn how individual experiences intertwine with the subjects they are studying;
  • Buddy Share https://www.tolerance.org/classroom-resources/student-tasks/do-something/buddy-share, where students can share their paper writing help or art with classmates;
  • Identity Artifacts Museum https://www.tolerance.org/classroom-resources/student-tasks/do-something/identity-artifacts-museum, where schoolers can display home items, which represent their personalities and outlooks.

Articles on Equity

The global quarantine made it difficult for tutors and educators to plan the curriculum and educational programs. Another problem that we can face is unequal access to online resources. 

There are many poor students, those with disabilities, students with ESL, schoolers without normal access to food and commodities, as well as students, who have to work and take care of elderly relatives. We are already working on a list of resources and articles, which will help the most vulnerable categories of students to have equal access to study materials.

Here are a few sources that may be helpful:

  • Coronavirus and Rights of Disabled Students https://www.disabilityrightstx.org/en/handout/3880/ ;
  • Best Practices for Helping English Language Learners and their Relatives https://www.tolerance.org/professional-development/webinars/best-practices-for-serving-english-language-learners-and-their;
  • Engagement of Families and Communities https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/publications/critical-practices-for-antibias-education/family-and-community-engagement.

It’s impossible to predict how the Covid-19 pandemic will influence schools and colleges in the nearest future and how long we will stay inside: for weeks or even months. However, we strongly believe that educators should continue teaching and helping students even without physical presence.

Thus, we are ready to give our full support not to let the crisis take away the right to education for those who are craving to gain knowledge. 

List of Resources for Educators

The first source we would like to mention is Coronavirus Resources: Learning, Teaching, and Thinking Critically https://www.nytimes.com/2020/03/11/learning/coronavirus-resources-teaching-learning-and-thinking-critically.html by the NY Times Learning Network. It includes issues on the current state of events, teaching literacy on the issue of Covid-19, basic questions, and suggestions on online discussions and debates.

Emotional support

Many students and educators feel stressed and worried in times of pandemic. Thus, we need to focus not only on their physical health and education but also on mental health. The sources below will be of great help:

  1. Crisis Text Line. https://www.crisistextline.org/?gclid=CjwKCAjwsMzzBRACEiwAx4lLGy7UDkkODrOmncpKBkCzGDgXM_vsWrHS5Q25NeLudo8VMbRcuDOOZRoCjyEQAvD_BwE. It offers round-the-clock counseling. Text HOME to 741741;
  2. The Trevor Project https://www.thetrevorproject.org/. Self-isolation may be very difficult especially if you are an LGBTQ student and your family doesn’t accept your choice;
  3. Telling Children About Coronavirus. Resource for Parents https://www.nasponline.org/resources-and-publications/resources-and-podcasts/school-climate-safety-and-crisis/health-crisis-resources/helping-children-cope-with-changes-resulting-from-covid-19. Published by the National Association of School Psychologists, these guidelines explain how to talk to children about the Covid-19 and a factual way in order to reduce stress and anxiety;
  4. Coronavirus resources and information https://www.nami.org/getattachment/Press-Media/Press-Releases/2020/COVID-19-and-Mental-Illness-NAMI-Releases-Importan/COVID-19-Updated-Guide-1.pdf?lang=en-US. These guidelines are published by the National Alliance on Mental Illness and includes advice on how to deal with stress that is caused by the recent news, as well as tips for people with vulnerable relatives or for those, who are homeless;
  5. Care for Coronavirus Anxiety https://www.virusanxiety.com/. This website is filled with resources, which address the anxiety that teachers are experiencing: financial worries, xenophobia, isolation, etc.
  6. Guide for parents and caregivers to help families cope with the Covid-19 https://www.nctsn.org/resources/parent-caregiver-guide-to-helping-families-cope-with-the-coronavirus-disease-2019. This printable source is provided by the National Child Traumatic Stress Network and is available in several languages. It includes information for parents and other caregivers on how to react and avoid stress in the light of current events.

Online resources any student can use from home

  1. Amazing Educational Resources, http://www.amazingeducationalresources.com/. It contains a list of educational companies, which are offering free of charge subscriptions, while the schools are closed;
  2. Free Learning Resources for Schools Affected by Covid-19 https://www.techlearning.com/resources/free-online-learning-resources-for-schools-affected-by-coronaviruscovid-19. This Tech Learning list contains hundreds of free platforms and sources, which cover all sorts of subjects of different grade levels and needs, including language learning and sex education;
  3. 200+ Online Learning Resources https://www.weareteachers.com/free-online-learning-resources/. This list is provided by the We Are Teachers and comes with lesson plans for all grades and learning platforms;
  4. Free Resources for Distance Learning https://www.cde.ca.gov/ci/cr/cf/distancelearnresources.asp by the California Department of Education. It consists of a list of publishers, which offer resources for distance learning.
  5. Discovery Education https://www.discoveryeducation.com/. This resource offers free access to digital books and other materials for K-12 learning online;
  6. Doc Academy https://docacademy.org/, which contains free clips from documentaries. They come along with practical lessons and toolkits;
  7. TED-Ed https://ed.ted.com/. On the official website, TED users can find free videos on multiple educational topics;
  8. Storyline Online https://www.storylineonline.net/. This great website contains read-aloud books for younger readers. The books catalog includes multiple characters and authors;
  9. Storytime from space https://storytimefromspace.com/. This unique resource contains records of astronauts reading children’s books. 

Printable resources

Not all students have Internet access, and it may be difficult for them to keep up with the curriculum and classmates’ performance. Below you will find sources that can be printed out.

  1. Curriculum Associates https://www.curriculumassociates.com/supporting-students-away-from-school. On this website you can find printable materials for K-8 grades in reading and math;
  2. All Kids Network https://www.allkidsnetwork.com/. Aimed at younger learners, this online source contains printable materials and worksheets;
  3. Scholastic https://www.scholastic.com/parents/kids-activities-and-printables/activities-and-printables-guides/free-printables-for-all-ages.html, which offers printable sources for K-8 grades.

Coronavirus and social justice

We have already highlighted the importance of understanding the historical background of the discussions surrounding coronavirus. Even when learning remotely, Let’s Talk https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/publications/lets-talk and Speak Up https://www.tolerance.org/magazine/publications/speak-up-at-school guidelines will help students and educators formulate answers to the frequently asked questions and to initiate debates on the Covid-19 topics.

  1. When Xenophobia Spreads Like a Virus https://www.npr.org/2020/03/02/811363404/when-xenophobia-spreads-like-a-virus?fbclid=IwAR19q-iwL5QxdNnrOicM44w-FHSH8pjNX-KR3rmh-g-N6m6N2Jh2HmLYA1Y%20Educational%20Divide/Dilemma. The article contains personal stories of how xenophobia affects people across the US during the Covid-19 outbreak;
  2. Support for educators during the coronavirus https://www.facinghistory.org/resource-library/support-teachers-coronavirus-covid-19-outbreak. The collection published by Facing History and Ourselves includes materials on preventing racism around the Covid-19 and resources, which will help students understand this period of crises;
  3. Coronavirus school closures expose digital divide https://www.usnews.com/news/education-news/articles/2020-03-10/coronavirus-school-closings-expose-digital-divide. This brilliant article tells how several Federal Communications Commission members advocate for the ways how the FCC may step to help remote learning;
  4. Coronavirus and education of disabled students https://d28lcup14p4e72.cloudfront.net/245981/5082659/Resource%20List%20FINAL%20%28002%29.pdf. These National Disability Rights Network resources can help teachers provide virtual education to students with disabilities;
  5. Covid-19 resources and response https://thejusticecollaborative.com/covid19/ by the Justice Collaborative. This website helps explaining how incarcerated people have a higher risk of Covid-19.

Best materials for distant and online education

  1. Learning Keeps Going https://www.learningkeepsgoing.org/. Several educational institutions have created this website to collect tips, resources, and webinars for a smoother transition to online learning. It also consists of a help desk for tutors and a hotline for students;
  2. Three ways to turn a classroom remote in a hurry https://www.kqed.org/education/533275/remote-in-a-hurry. This KQED resource includes a set of learning tools and tips for effective distant learning;
  3. Resources for learning and teaching during the social distancing period https://www.kqed.org/mindshift/55521/resources-for-teaching-and-learning-during-this-period-of-social-distancing. This detailed article provides advice and resources for teachers to move to distance learning;
  4. How to teach virtual courses https://www.futurelearn.com/subjects/teaching-courses/how-to-teach-online by Future Learn. These free training programs help teachers master strategies for distance learning.

Resources for vulnerable populations

Families in need are at higher risk during natural, environmental, and health crises. That is why we have made a list of sources that may be of great use.

  1. Organizations that help people get food and medical assistance during the Covid-19 pandemic https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/tasneemnashrulla/coronavirus-covid19-organizations-help-food-medical-aid. This Buzzfeed article contains a list of services, which deliver food, medicine, and other supplies not only in the US but also abroad;
  2. Coronavirus: Multilingual Sources for Schools https://www.colorincolorado.org/coronavirus. This website helps tutors to communicate with families in different languages;
  3. Talking Points https://talkingpts.org/. This application helps educators send messages to students and their relatives in their own language;
  4. Talking to Kids about Covid-19: ASL resources https://deafchildren.org/2020/03/talking-to-kids-about-coronavirus-asl-english-resources/. The American Society for Deaf Children provides information on the virus and its influence on the deaf community;
  5. Supporting families during coronavirus https://childmind.org/coping-during-covid-19-resources-for-parents/ by the Child Mind Institute. The collection of services consists of videos by clinicians, medicine services, and advises how to cope with anxiety and make children remain home.

Sources for caretakers

  1. Talking to children about the Covid-19 https://childmind.org/article/talking-to-kids-about-the-coronavirus/, which offers tips that encourage open conversation on the topic;
  2. Covid-19 and parenting: what you should know https://www.npr.org/2020/03/13/814615866/coronavirus-and-parenting-what-you-need-to-know-now. This constantly updating resource contains tips on education and health during the pandemic;
  3. Scholastic learn at home https://classroommagazines.scholastic.com/support/learnathome.html. It’s a free resource, which contains daily projects for PK-K, 1-2, 3-5, and 6+ grades;
  4. Khan Academy https://www.khanacademy.org/ offers free training courses for children in math, history, and science;
  5. Free subscriptions and resources for distance learning and homeschooling during the coronavirus https://qns.com/story/2020/03/16/free-resources-and-subscriptions-for-remote-learning-and-home-schooling-due-to-coronavirus/. This curated QNS list of free sources for remote learning in a variety of grades and subjects;
  6. Coronavirus: educational resources for kids at home https://www.kiro7.com/news/trending/coronavirus-learning-resources-kids-home-school/5TSTZSDKWNGV3HR4KF5YMVXQ34/. The article gives tips on how to structure home education.