Back to Blog
Behind the NIHF Scenes

Lasting Lessons From 2021: An Educator’s Perspective

Barbara Hinton, regional program development manager at the National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF), reflects on her long history as an educator and acknowledges the perseverance shown by teachers across the country throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Read on as she shares insights gleaned from educator friends and colleagues working to overcome the challenges they face each day.

Learning From Resilient Educators

As a former educator of more than 30 years, I can attest that teaching is one of the most challenging yet rewarding experiences, all rolled into one. Teaching is a calling and involves being a servant leader, fulfilling your passion and meeting the needs of others. For many educators, throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, this calling was tested and challenged unlike ever before.

To succeed, it is often said that one must persevere throughout their personal and professional life. COVID-19 taught all of us, especially educators, that this moment in time was that test, and life as we know it will most certainly be different because of it. Teachers were faced with multiple challenging situations, and so, as teachers do, we put on our game face, kept our eyes on the prize and worked tirelessly to ensure that each student in our circle would succeed.

It’s always been about the students. But now, so many outside forces continue to test our resilience and resolution. Below are a few tips and insights my educator friends and colleagues have shared with me for meeting this current challenge head on and forging ahead into the unknown:

  • Relationships matter. 
  • Check in with each student each day. 
  • Be kind. 
  • Empathy and compassion are more important than covering content. 
  • Learning can happen anywhere, at any time. 
  • One size has never fit all. 
  • Not all students can learn in an asynchronous environment, but some students thrive. 
  • It’s OK to not be OK. 
  • You can only be best for others when you feel best. 
  • Figure out what’s most important to teach and learn. 
  • Less is more. 
  • Technology is only a tool, not the product. 
  • Give students time to collaborate and reflect, even when learning is virtual. 
  • Give students choice. 
  • Give students a chance to “uncover” learning. 
  • Teach students to become problem solvers. 
  • Students will remember most what they created, led, designed or shared. 
  • Find teachable moments not in your lesson plans. 
  • Continue to create practices that will help all students, no matter where they are. 
  • Get to know your students’ families. 
  • Tomorrow is another day.


Easing Into a New Normal

For Monica Simonds, director of advanced learning programs and services at Richardson Independent School District, one of the growing trends that she has seen among her colleagues is the adoption of technology that makes teaching in hybrid settings easier.

“Teachers have gotten more comfortable with technology, and that helped expedite integrating instructional technology into lessons,” she said in an interview with NIHF. “It has been a safe space, and time for innovating and trying new things.”

Additionally, Simonds has seen educators express the importance of self-care more openly.

“Self-care is now prioritized and discussed openly and often,” Simonds said. “We have a focus on the well-being of teachers that is a direct result of living through a pandemic.”


Share Your Thoughts With Us

Do you have insights or strategies that have helped you through this academic year? We invite you to share what has worked for you on our Facebook page!

Related Articles