#21 – Lessons Learned in 2020: Embracing Uncertainty

Unpacking Education January 6, 2021 21 min

It’s fair to say that no one expected 2020 to turn out like it did. Regardless, there are still lessons  that we can take with us into the new year. Teachers have grown so much this year in their use of, and comfort with, technology. Students have had to assume a greater level of independence. This year will fundamentally change the future of education for the better to transform what happens in our classroom when we return for face-to-face learning.

Join our Digital Learning Specialists as they talk about their experiences during 2020, their lessons learned, and the importance of creating your community—collaborating with other educators not only for lesson design but for social and emotional support.

Below, you will find resources and tips shared during the podcast.

Paul Beckermann
PreK-12 Digital Learning Specialist
Rena Clark
Digital Learning Coach
Pamela Beckermann
PreK-12 Digital Learning Specialist

The most valuable lessons in life cannot be taught, they must be experienced.

Liam Payne, singer/songwriter


In this week’s episode, we discuss the following strategies and resources that are available on AVID Open Access for you to explore in more depth.

Finding and Offering Support to Your Teacher Community

As you reflect on lessons learned during 2020, taking the time to stop and acknowledge the good things that have happened provides perspective of the tremendous growth that has occurred. This reflection takes on extra importance during a year where we have often focused on the challenges. We are taking a moment to give thanks and offer back our lessons learned to our teacher community.

Top 9 Takeaways for 2020

How do you prepare for what lays ahead in 2021 and the surprises that will likely come with it? Reflection on the lessons learned below points to a year where teachers continue to grow and face challenges with grace and commitment to their students.

  1. Collaboration was key. We are not alone. We are grateful for our teacher community—for the support and for the inspiration. We are stronger and better together. We celebrate all the teachers who offered a shoulder to lean on, a lesson to share, and ideas to motivate students in the virtual classroom.
  2. Focus on a growth mindset for you and your students. The pandemic has forced a shift in how we teach and how our students learn. We embraced being a learner and the vulnerability that comes with trying new teaching methods.
  3. Relationships matter. Relationships before learning. Learning before tools. This year has highlighted how important relationships are and how grateful we are to have the tools that make nurturing our relationships possible so that learning can happen.
  4. Make student learning active, not passive. Whether you were online, synchronous, or asynchronous, teachers created experiences where students took the role of sense makers to become the owners of their learning process.
  5. Collaborate, collaborate, collaborate! We truly are stronger together. We learned that we can’t do it alone. When we are more efficient, we are more effective. We’ve seen numerous examples this year of districts creating systems to share resources and support across their campuses. Teachers found their PLCs, PLNs, and coaches.
  6. Find your joy and celebrate. We are excited about how education will forever be changed for the better!
  7. Stay resilient in the face of ongoing challenges. Teachers have faced perhaps the greatest challenge in the history of US education. With little to no warning, we were thrust into a teaching environment for which few were prepared. Technology was a high mountain to climb for some. Strategies needed to be changed. But nevertheless, we dug in and worked hard. We collaborated. We shared. We were vulnerable. We took risks. We did all of this together.
  8. Innovate with teaching practices. Teachers have grown so much in the area of tech integration. Teachers know kids, and they also know good teaching. With those pillars in place, teachers have committed to figuring out technology. Collaboration, sharing, and leaning on each other has accelerated this innovation.
  9. Love your students and know they love you. Above all, we have seen why teachers do what they do. They love kids. Their hearts ached last spring when they were separated for the remainder of the year. This fall, some never even got a chance to meet face-to-face, and yet, teachers put relationship building front and center. Students longed for connections not only with their friends but also with their teachers. Students could come to open office hours just to hang out and have a conversation—sort of like stopping by a classroom at lunchtime or before school to chat. Some of the most impactful moments can happen during these times. These conversations can change lives.