According to Google Trends, over the last 18 months, searches for “missing my students” increased 150%, and searches for “bulletin board ideas” dropped to an all-time low in April 2020.
Some of the top questions searched were things like “How can educators support students who are struggling with distance learning?,” “How can students and teachers build a useful virtual classroom community?” and even “What does remote learning mean?” Clearly, educators — at home or in the classroom — have had plenty of challenges. So for this World Teachers’ Day, we put together a place where you can see other education and learning-related searches and trends from the past year.
Despite the many questions, I’m inspired by the strength of our incredible global educator community. On this World Teachers’ Day we’re sharing stories of how they found a way to teach during a year that has taught us so many lessons.
Ann Kerr — Administrator, California, USA
Like many districts around the world, Ann saw an increase in stress across staff and students. To help students who were struggling, she tutored in the evenings after school to help students navigate the changes. Her efforts helped one student not only understand how to use Google Classroom but also their assignments, and the student raised their grades above passing before the end of the year. Even though they had only met through Google Meet, they made a real connection.
Jeffrey Bradbury — Lead Instructional Coach for Digital Learning, Connecticut, USA
Jeff also saw a need to support the mental health of his students. This year, he co-led Norwalk Public Schools to launch a brand new Digital Learning Department to support teachers with not only using digital tools, but also to provide social and emotional support both in and out of the classroom.
Vanessa Almeida — K-12 Public School Teacher and Pedagogical Coordinator, Amazonas, Brazil
Vanessa started preparing her school for online teaching in 2017, years before the pandemic — but nothing could have prepared her for what was to come. She set out to create a more connected and efficient usage of the technology resources; at one point she worked for 48 hours straight to make sure all students had Google Workspace for Education accounts. This meant that her school continued its classes uninterrupted during the transition from face-to-face to remote learning. Even today, Vanessa offers her lunch break to teach students on various online tools.
Suyanti Witono — 10th and 12th grade Biology Teacher, Jakarta, Indonesia
Suyanti is also no stranger to working overtime for her community. Once a stranger to remote learning, Suyanti spent her summer break going back to school herself. She took online courses and webinars to push herself to be prepared for whatever the upcoming academic year would bring. She learned about new online tools and how to use them to support her students from afar. After completing these courses, Suyanti was able to come back to the unknown with confidence. This extended to her students and the second wave of remote learning was not only easier, but more collaborative. Aside from lesson plans, she focused on engaging students with critical thinking, enhancing creativity and promoting effective communication by using collaborative tools like Google Slides and Pear Deck.
Janice MacRae — Head Teacher, Highland Council, Scotland
Janice and the Muirtown Primary School in Inverness, Scotland knew it would be important to maintain extracurriculars no matter what the circumstances, given how beneficial they are for kids. Every year, they host the “Muirtown’s Got Talent” show, which usually takes place at school with in-person voting. The curtains still rose this year, but on a very different stage: The performances were recorded and uploaded to a Google Site, and parents voted via Google Forms (which actually garnered more participation).
Renee Bogacz — Instructional Technology Teacher, Illinois
Like many other teachers, Renee found a silver lining to the struggles of the school year. “The last school year may have been the most challenging school year of every educator’s career, but it will also be the most memorable,” Renee says. “It will be the one where we all came together to find thoughtful and creative ways to support our kids in ways we never dreamed.”
This last year is a reminder of the incredible strength and resilience of educators. I saw firsthand how passionately students wanted to learn and grow, and how incredibly they performed when given the right environment and resources.
I’m so lucky to work with and learn from inspiring educators from around the world every day. Thank you to teachers everywhere for your strength and Happy World Teachers’ Day. You can celebrate further by joining a Google teacher community in your area.