The COVID-19 pandemic has created a lot of uncertainty around the globe. For school administrators, educators, and students, it has not only disrupted learning but also reimagined the way education is provided. Students have been forced to face ever-changing school dynamics, from new rules to alternative ways of learning. Whether learning is offered at home, or in the classroom, COVID-19 has put a strain on school administrators and educators, forcing them to balance learning objectives and academic success with the health and safety of their students. One thing is clear during these tough times — effective classroom leadership is necessary to maintain a positive and nurturing learning environment.
As an educator and school administrator, Dr. Marcus Jackson has seen firsthand the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has had on schools and learning processes throughout America. Although currently working in Lake Charles, Louisiana, Dr. Jackson has done extensive work at schools in Atlanta, Georgia. He has seen great success in the districts he has worked in, including in Georgia, where he was able to inspire measurable improvements in academic and social aspects among students. Dr. Jackson believes that effective classroom leadership is necessary to promote student success and development. In unprecedented times like these, this message has never been so relevant. Dr. Jackson provides some tips that will help school administrators and educators provide strong classroom leadership.
During times of uncertainty, it’s important that leaders have answers. Therefore, ensuring that educators are informed and provided with up-to-date information regarding the pandemic and its impact is vital. Educators and school administrators are flooded with questions from students, who are concerned and uncertain about what the COVID-19 pandemic holds. Dr. Marcus Jackson notes that if these leaders can offer clear and informative answers, the concerns of students will be eased. In addition, informed educators will be more confident in the way that they manage their classrooms, as well as the factors that are implemented to protect students’ safety.
Practice What You Teach
Leading by example is another key aspect of strong leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Marcus Jackson suggests that educators should focus on ensuring that their behavior matches the expectations that they have for their students. For example, if students are being asked to socially distance and regularly wash their hands, educators and school administrators should emulate this behavior as well.
Now, more than ever before, self-care is critical. To be effective leaders during COVID-19, educators will need to be healthy, both physically and mentally. School leaders should focus on maintaining their health so that they can be of service to others. Many concerns and frustrations are sure to arise and school leaders must be at their best in order to help students with their concerns, anxieties, and emotions. Dr. Marcus Jackson, who did significant academic work in Atlanta, GA, recommends that educators focus on getting enough sleep and taking time to relax when at home to help relieve some of the stress they are facing.
Engage in Collaborative Leadership
No one person can have all the answers during a time of crisis. Therefore, educators must embrace collaboration. School administrators and educators must work together to solve the unprecedented issues posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. They will need to come together, along with families and students, to develop innovative ways to promote student success and a comfortable learning environment. Dr. Marcus Jackson advises that clear communication will be essential for engaging in collaborative leadership. Teachers and administration will need to be clear in their expectations. Not only is this clarity necessary for learning expectations, but also for maintaining health and safety measures.
Focus on Well-Being
The biggest concern for educators and school administrators is student well-being. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the mental health of many Americans, including students. Therefore, to ensure that students can succeed in the classroom, educators will need to focus on well-being and mental health. Teachers should check in with their students regularly. If concerns arise, they should have solutions to offer. Most importantly, notes Dr. Marcus Jackson, who did extensive work at schools in Atlanta, GA, as it relates to student growth, good classroom leadership will require educators to have open and honest conversations with students about the pandemic and their feelings surrounding it.