By Joan Lee Husted, 2020-2021 HEA Board Vice President
I know I could not have taught during this pandemic. I was not skilled enough to juggle an in-person classroom and a video conferencing classroom either together or separately, but thousands of teachers are doing it and I congratulate them.
Though Governor Ige directed all schools to have in-person learning, post pandemic education certainly will be different from pre-pandemic education. Teachers know this though they may not know exactly how.
It is only fitting as HEA enters its second century, that we look at education in the future. Let us explore some of the possibilities. There are some things we already know. The interaction between an adult and a student is critical to a student’s learning, health, and safety. No student was hugged by a machine. No student exclaimed that they were inspired by a machine.
However, some trends have already surfaced. Remote learning will continue to play a part of a student’s education. For some students, their whole education experience will be online and for other students, one or two hours will be online. And for still others, all their education will be in the classroom. But Hawaii is not currently equipped to provide highspeed internet to all parts of the states so all students will have full access. This is particularly true for the rural and neighbor islands.
This raises the question if the State will be prepared to manage the new education. For example, the State must be prepared to ensure that every public school student has the proper equipment to use remote learning.
Because of childcare issues, students engaged in remote learning will require the State to set up remote learning centers so parents can go to work rather than stay at home to watch their children work on computers. Computer literate teachers will supervise those centers. Of course, classroom teachers will need to constantly upgrade their computer skills, so they can help, guide, and teach their students using the latest techniques.
For those parents or guardians who stay at home, homeschooling will grow as more adults are convinced that they can do as good a job as any licensed teacher. The State will need to rethink its approach to homeschooling and be prepared to put the necessary safeguards in place to protect the health and safety of homeschoolers as well as advocate for their social growth.
Technology will impact the teacher shortage. In the future, some of our teachers will not reside in the state. Teachers will be employed on the mainland or even internationally to conduct online classes to students in Hawaii. Imagine a teacher in Taiwan teaching Mandarin to students in Kona. Or students learning trigonometry from a teacher in Massachusetts. This will require the Hawaii Teacher Standards Board to think of how they will license these remote teachers.
The challenge for HEA in its second century will be how to contact this diverse group of people from parents to remote teachers. A second challenge for HEA will be how HEA will bring that diverse group of teachers together to share ideas and reduce the loneliness of teaching. This will be exacerbated by different time zones.
You can add your own ideas about the future of education and how HEA can address changes and challenges. Please submit your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can share them with our membership and educator community.