Louisiana Association of Educators staff and member trainers will begin offering online courses to help educators navigate some of the challenges of engaging with students while families deal with the impacts of COVID-19. LAE President Dr. Tia Mills said she is excited the association can provide this critical service to members currently faced with maintaining contact with their students in this time of public crisis.
“Whether school districts are requiring teachers to do this or not, we’ve spoken with many members who want to continue meeting the needs of their students,” Dr. Mills said. “Whether it’s for educational or emotional support, our members have made it clear that they want to do what they can to provide children with some level of normalcy during this time of uncertainty.”
Made possible by the association’s professional development arm, The Teaching and Learning Center, LAE trainers will host webinars for educators interested in gaining a better understanding of how to deliver virtual instruction to students of all grade levels, effectively. Trainers will cover best practices on how to host students in virtual learning settings. Key areas of focus include incorporating digital discussion boards, video, and online activities, all to maximize not just students’, but also parents’ engagement. The course lasts approximately 90-minutes.
LAE’s Teaching and Learning Center Director, Dr. Suzanne Harris, has worked with the association’s leaders and staff to increase the capacity to deliver virtual courses all across the state.
“Today’s digital world presents us with an opportunity to act swiftly in our efforts to remotely train association members so they can provide distance learning for their students,” Dr. Harris explained. “We’ve established a cadre of LAE staff members, as well as member-trainers, to facilitate webinars by the request of LAE’s local affiliates and school districts, as we attempt to assist those educators working on the frontlines to serve students.”
Dr. Harris went on to say that The Teaching and Learning Center’s next area of focus for training will address one significant aspect all teachers and students tend to face in the aftermath of a crisis: trauma.
“Many factors surrounding this national crisis have created unrest in the lives of both school-aged children and their families. We understand the important role educators play in the emotional well-being of their students, which is why The Teaching and Learning Center will prioritize the need to address the trauma that comes along with such a crisis,” Harris explained. “We plan to guide teachers through the process of dealing with any fears or stress students may encounter when it’s time to return to the classroom.”