To Our Orange County Teachers,
Today begins National Teacher Appreciation Week. As local teachers responded to the public health crisis and shifted instruction for hundreds of thousands of students across Orange County to remote delivery, we are all reminded of the centrality and value of teachers for society. On behalf of the UCI School of Education, we take this moment to thank all our teachers for their continued commitment to our students and families.
The shift to remote instruction for educators everywhere has been fraught with hurdles and difficulties. Adopting new forms of technology to support student learning and well-being can oftentimes feel overwhelming. We understand the many challenges you have encountered and we applaud the creative solutions that you and your colleagues have put in place in response.
We also recognize that you were asked to take on this challenge with little time to prepare. We have worked with educators both at UCI and in local schools to develop resources to support your efforts. In mid-April, the School of Education’s Teacher Academy hosted multiple workshops designed to discuss best practices related to remote learning and instruction. What we learned from the more than 150 educators in attendance is that student success remains your top priority. We focused our first session on how to remain connected to students in this distance format and how to use technology for meaningful and engaged learning.
It was amazing to hear the creative ways in which you are satisfying these concerns. Teachers across the county are learning and using new technologies, developing innovative teaching methods, introducing new ways to assess their students, and altering their schedules to stay connected with students and their families. These stories served as a firm reminder of the deep commitment that our county’s educators have to our students and families.
We want to continue this conversation. The UCI Teacher Academy recently compiled resources by leading educators to assist schools, teachers, families and students during remote instruction. This resource page will be updated regularly with access to best practices for leveraging technology and suggestions for families and youth to learn together at home and outdoors. Also, you can join colleagues and School of Education faculty and staff on the Teacher Academy's new Facebook group to continue sharing best practices and strategies.
As we struggle with continuing to serve our students during these challenging times, I implore all teachers to take a moment to honor their hard work and that of their colleagues. You are all generating amazing solutions to the instructional challenges we are encountering, and have once again proven yourselves the bedrock of our country's future.
Richard Arum
Dean and Professor
UCI School of Education