Teaching students is a challenging profession. It requires careful planning, long hours of grading papers, being able to keep at least 30 different people happy and learning at one time, flexibility, and the ability to procure the right resources for lessons. This would be in a normal school year; but this year, we have watched a global pandemic change what education and teaching looks like.
In March 2020, students in Oklahoma left for spring break and never came back to the classroom. Teachers immediately had to adjust not only how they were teaching but what they were teaching. Teachers were not allowed in the classroom while lockdown orders were in place. Whatever a teacher took home with them for spring break were the only resources they had to teach with; some may have only had a laptop and maybe a textbook. They had two weeks to come up with a way to disseminate information that was relevant to students who were sheltering in place.
This year, we have watched a global pandemic change what education and teaching looks like.
This meant teachers were looking actively to online resources and projects that they could do from home using materials they had on hand. Teachers and students need science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) resources, and in particular science-based laboratories to incorporate in their daily lessons to meet the state mandated standards and objectives. Noble Research Institute’s youth education outreach program helps to fill that role during the school year. Noble’s youth education teachers bring science-based, agricultural laboratory lessons to the classroom to help reinforce what is being taught. We also send our lessons in educational trunks that provide teachers and students with the laboratory materials they need to complete the lessons in class. This resource is free for students and teachers.
During this time of COVID-19, we have used the time away from the classroom to plan for the future of social distancing. Within the next year, we will begin to transition our lessons online and make them interactive and accessible for teachers to use, regardless of social distancing or school shutdowns. Teachers will be able to bring science-based content to their students and will be able to get the valuable training and continuing education that they need to meet their own professional development requirements.
We always anticipate change in the classroom and in the field of agriculture. Now we have seen change in the world. We have learned and are teaching each other that we are resilient to change. No matter the challenge, we are here to meet it head on.