Amidst Uncertainty, Start With What We Know Matters

Sarah Johnson

Dear Friends, Partners, and Supporters,

My son turned five years old in May. He attended an NYC public school for PreK and we were excited to continue his education in our nation’s largest school system. Now, the future is uncertain and I worry he is not on track, both socially and academically. He misses his friends. I miss his teachers. I can’t wait for a teacher to support us in getting him back on track to be prepared for kindergarten and beyond. As a parent and an educator, I am constantly thinking about what I would want my son’s teachers to prioritize with him. It is in that spirit that I write this note about what we should prioritize with educators.

We planned to release Teaching Lab’s Impact Report before the COVID-19 global pandemic profoundly impacted our personal and professional lives. As schools and businesses closed around the world, each of us at Teaching Lab struggled to balance the pursuit of our mission with our equally important personal commitments to our children, families, and loved ones. As colleagues and loved ones fought and even lost their battles to the disease, it was difficult to think about why we should release this report. I wondered if what we would say now would be relevant to educators responding to a crisis.

So, we took the time we needed to take care of ourselves, our loved ones, and our school and system partners. We asked teachers and community members: “How are you? What do you need at this time?”Conversations with educators helped us emerge from the fog with an increased clarity of vision: educators want to do right by students and they know they need strong professional relationships and relevant opportunities to learn, fast.

We chose to publish Teaching Lab’s Impact Report because we believe that it can be helpful to educators as they ask the following questions:

  • What do we prioritize as we plan to support millions of students as they return to school after being out of school for months?
  • How do we support all of our educators to adapt to this new reality so they can equitably serve all of our students?

As we recover, here is what we must prioritize:Our impact analysis shows that educators can learn complex and difficult practices and they can learn them fast. Teachers learn how to do difficult things faster when they use high-quality instructional materials and when their systems invest in sustained, relevant and coherent learning opportunities for them.Teaching is even more difficult now as teachers need to double-plan to support students in virtual and blended learning environments.This is not the time to short-shrift teacher learning opportunities.

Our children depend on our teachers. Take care of them and they will take care of our future.

Contact Us anytime to learn more about how Teaching Lab can support educators.

Thank you for pursuing educational equity with us,

Sarah Johnson, CEO of Teaching Lab


View and Download Teaching Lab’s Impact Report

May 19, 2020

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