Education has become a lot more complicated the last five years. Part of that is the impact of COVID on in-person and remote teaching. Another large part is the transparency now requested/required by parents as to what is going on in the classroom. The importance of education consultants, mentors, and teacher coaches has never been more pressing. Here’s a good article from the Ask a Tech Teacher crew on what that means and how you as an educator can confront the issues:
Exploring the Need for Education Consultants in a Digital World
There is no denying that we live in a vastly different world than we did just three years ago. Just as an increasing number of businesses have moved their operations totally online, so too have many students moved to online programs for their educational needs. All grade levels are now seeing an increase in the number of students who study online since the recent pandemic forced them to do so. Even though classrooms are once again open to student enrolment, many parents have opted to keep their children at home where they feel safer for a number of reasons.
A Myriad of Reasons for Online Education
Sadly, it isn’t only fear of contagions that has prompted this but also other factors such as the rising level of violence and bullying in schools, the fear of school shootings and various factors within family life. Parents who often struggled to get kids to and from school because of work hours, can now find ways to adjust everyone’s schedule so that no one needs to be late or miss days due to conflicts that occur far too often. Some parents simply like to monitor what their kids are learning and how they are being taught.
A Whole New Paradigm in Education
Although online learning is not new, the sheer magnitude that was thrust on school systems throughout the nation gave rise to a whole new paradigm in education. Many of the teachers who were asked to monitor online classes for months during the height of the pandemic were totally unprepared for teaching in cyberspace. With the growing number of families not choosing to send their kids back to the classroom, many teachers also opted to teach remotely. With this being a completely new venture for so many school districts, it became obvious that education consultants were needed to set up and monitor progress of these new programs along the way.
Much Needed Advice for New Education Consultants
Before looking at this in more depth, let’s start by saying that just like any other consultant in any field, you leave yourself vulnerable to accusations of professional negligence and occasional mistakes. These can have severe financial consequences. Unlike working for the public school system, you don’t come equipped with departmental legal defense. When working as a private contractor, an education consultant, one of the first things you should do is to purchase affordable professional liability for consultants. Believe it or not, there is always a risk for being sued by a disenchanted parent.
What It Takes to Be an Education Consultant
Actually, the only real requirements are those which would be necessary to be a classroom teacher; however, as a consultant, the job literally demands experience in the field. In other words, new educators would probably not be as in-demand as those with two or more decades in the classroom. Perhaps it’s time for a change and this is something that appeals to you. While you don’t want to walk away from teaching altogether, you could become a consultant to schools and/or parents at a time when your experience and knowledge are sorely in need. What a wonderful opportunity to have the ability to stay active without leaving the digital realm!
Jacqui Murray has been teaching K-18 technology for 30 years. She is the editor/author of over a hundred tech ed resources including a K-12 technology curriculum, K-8 keyboard curriculum, K-8 Digital Citizenship curriculum. She is an adjunct professor in tech ed, Master Teacher, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice, CSTA presentation reviewer, freelance journalist on tech ed topics, contributor to NEA Today, and author of the tech thrillers, To Hunt a Sub and Twenty-four Days. You can find her resources at Structured Learning.