As we see it, Teacher Appreciation deserves far more than a week. This is especially true given how many educators stepped up and out of their comfort zones throughout this past year.
Even though 51% of surveyed educators felt “uncertain” going into the Fall 2020 semester, they pushed through the unknown—as champions of their students’ success. While 58% of surveyed educators were worried about their capacity to craft engaging learning experiences, they forged ahead by learning new technologies and adopting new strategies to keep students motivated—even from a distance.
There may have been some bumps in the road—spotty internet during a zoom lecture, figuring out how to engage students through a computer screen, having little time to master new tech tools—but there is so much that faculty did RIGHT during a time when so much in the world was going wrong.
But don’t take our word for it. Watch the video to hear what students were grateful their instructors did during a time that upended higher ed as we once knew it.
Other Students Share Their Gratitude
“I like when they put out the schedule of all assignments at the beginning of the semester and give reminders of the next assignment on [our LMS]. The hardest thing about online classes is keeping track of everything, so constant reminders are super useful.” – Mackenzie
“A lot of the instructors on my campus have changed their original Meetup times for in-person learning virtual learning for students who cannot physically be on [campus]. Also a vast majority of my professors are making accommodations outside of [my state’s] mandated accommodations for students because of covid-19 family related issues.” – Chantel
“Most of my instructors realize learning online is really tough, so they have made exams open-note and/or given us plenty of time to take them. Most of my instructors are also being very understanding and lenient about due dates…both super helpful things…because it is hard and stressful (and at times overwhelming) having to teach myself material and keep track of seemingly endless new due dates.” – Brenna
“I love when my professors have pre-recorded lectures [embedded] into slides! …Often recordings were done hastily when covid began and the quality is poor and hard to follow. Professors who took the extra time to redo videos and pre record lectures make remote learning much smoother!” – Lindsay
“One thing that my professor has done right [is] being almost overly communicative with us about the course schedule… he always asks us if we are comfortable coming to class. For example, this past Monday we had a bad thunderstorm in [our town]. We were originally supposed to meet in-person but a student suggested that we have the class on Zoom this time because a lot of the roads were flooded making it unsafe to drive. My professor thought this was a great idea and we all mutually agreed this was the best option…. Essentially, open communication is key.” – Carter
“My instructors have been accessible outside of class, respond to emails quickly, are understanding of the unpredictable things that can happen and are willing to accommodate (i.e., willing to record a class session that you won’t be able to attend).” – Marcella
“Creating online communities around their classes – active discord servers, piazza Q&As, encouraging strong participation in class, etc.” – Andrew
“The switch to online school has been difficult for everyone, especially for old school professors who are so used to teaching on the chalk board and lacking the latest technology knowledge. However, they did not give up. My professors took the time to learn the zoom world and made the online transition as smooth as possible for their students. They were patient, kind, and understanding. My professors are even flexible and try to assist [in] one on one online office hours … on top of providing supplement[al] study material.” – Chaitali
“My instructors have been putting due dates out way in advance. Timely communication with emails… and being supportive with the spring semester.” – Arianna
“They have eased and relaxed deadlines. This has been really helpful to counteract the losing motivation factor of this semester. My professors have also posted all of their lectures (recorded themselves) along with all of their PowerPoints to help with those who can’t make class or other problems.” – Victoria
“One of my professors [created] a calendar file containing all the course assignments and events. He shared this with us and it was available to download to your computer and phone. I loved this so much because now I am always up to date on the course and it’s so convenient to have that already done for you, instead of copying it to your own planner.” – Carter
“Throughout this semester, a lot of my instructors have increased the flexibility of our courses. This includes take-home tests that are essay based, extended deadlines, and less busy work. Professors understand that students are starting to get burnt out from learning online and doing interactive activities during Zoom classes is really helpful with getting and maintaining students’ attention. Additionally, many of my professors also offer office hours where students are welcome to discuss any issues they are facing in their academic and personal lives. Overall, the best professors during the pandemic have been the ones that are understanding of students’ struggles and implement open communication rather than rigid rules and deadlines.” – Ania