How Educators Are Helping Kids Thrive in The Classroom

Teachers are amazing under normal circumstances, but the creativity and dedication they’ve shown over the past 20 months has been above and beyond what anyone could have expected. When there were challenges, teachers stepped up and found solutions. When there were hard times, teachers brought smiles and laughter to their students. And now, during the third school year disrupted by the pandemic, they continue to find new and impressive ways to engage, connect and educate our children.

World Teachers’ Day has been held annually on October 5th since 1994, when UNESCO adopted recommendations on the rights and responsibilities of educators. This year’s theme is “Recover and Revitalize Education for the COVID-19 Generation.” In honour of World Teachers’ Day, here are a few ways educators are helping kids grow and thrive in the classroom this school year.

They’re Leading with Empathy

Heading back to school after many months of virtual learning can be stressful for kids and parents alike. It can also be challenging for educators. Mental health is critically important at every age, and this Vice Principal in Halton Region has used her online platform to share simple ways to address back to school anxiety in a healthy, productive way. By sharing these ideas with parents, she’s helping support kids at home as well as in the classroom. It’s a great idea — in addition to sharing these tips on social media, you can add them to a newsletter or your classroom website.

They Encourage Collaboration and Interactive Learning

This Halton educator is teaching valuable critical thinking skills while letting her students know that their questions and ideas are an important part of the lesson. By using a mind map-style visual aid to share comments and build knowledge, her students are getting involved in an important discussion about Indigenous communities and culture. A mind map allows students to share their thoughts in a way that’s organic and unstructured, see how their ideas connect to ideas shared by their peers, and creates a visual element to strengthen engagement and understanding. Every mind map is open-ended and unique, so they can be used to teach any grade or subject. And, all you need is a white board, a smartboard, some paper or a good old-fashioned chalkboard to help spark new ideas and creative thinking. 

They’re Getting Creative with Tech

Finding creative ways to use technology in lesson plans is a great way to engage kids in an activity while getting to know them as individuals. This technology specialist and educator in Toronto used coding products to help students create life maps that showed off their personality and interests. A life map outlines key events and milestones in a student’s life, encouraging them to reflect and express themselves while using art, language and organizational skills. If you’re interested in doing something similar in your home or classroom, Staples has a large selection of STEM toys to choose from.

They’re Finding New Ways to Connect

Educators in Halton Region have shared a number of ways to break the ice and connect with students this school year through The Shift — an initiative that offers free resources to educators in the community and beyond. There are videos detailing each of the activities, which are geared to students of various ages between kindergarten and grade 12. This may be particularly helpful to educators who are currently teaching virtual school as many of these activities can be done online. They’re a great way to build teacher-student and peer connections online or off.

Remember — build a foundation of trust and respect with your students first, and great learning opportunities will come. It’s like Halton District School Board educator and superintendent Jacqueline Newton said on Twitter, “Pause on reading, writing & math. RELATIONSHIPS are the most important work we can do for the first week of school (and beyond).”

We hope these educators inspire you as they’ve inspired us. On World Teachers’ Day and always, let’s take a moment to show our gratitude to the many incredible educators across Canada. Thank you for everything you do.

We’re showing educators like you our appreciation with more support and savings. Find out more about Staples’ Teacher Membership Program today.

By Staples Canada

October 01, 2021