Understood’s top 5 educator articles of 2020

5 answers

We know that being an educator in 2020 wasn’t easy. So much was expected of you — with new information to digest every day.

We also know you only had a limited amount of time to explore new resources. So, we asked the Understood Teacher Fellows to share and reflect on their favorite Understood articles from 2020. Here are their top five picks.

Answer fromKareem Neal, MA

Dear teachers: You are also essential

The most frustrating part of the COVID school closures was the negative comments about teachers not wanting to work. All of that made me feel pretty undervalued as a teacher. 

Amanda Morin’s article helped me expel the negative thoughts I was having about how the world viewed us. The title alone gave me a sense of pride. But what really helped me was the article’s acknowledgment that we are making history. We are teaching in a new way that creates safety for our community. That acknowledgment was much needed and appreciated.

Answer fromAshlee Upp, MEd

How I navigate the coronavirus as an educator with anxiety

It takes courage to acknowledge the strong feelings we have as we teach from our homes or empty classrooms. I am deeply appreciative of how Lauren Jewett acknowledged a vulnerable concept — her anxiety — to help and support other teachers. 

The article gives concrete and actionable examples of how to manage the anxieties that so many of us face. Now more than ever, it’s important to know that we are not alone. 

Answer fromMelissa Sandler, MEd

Parent-teacher conferences during COVID: 10 things to know

Virtual school is not the same as in-person for many reasons. I appreciated this article’s focus on leading online parent-teacher conferences. The tips were easy to understand, and the article is both student- and family-centered. 

I shared this article with the first-year teachers I work with. They had some “aha” moments and realized they would need to lead their conferences with empathy and understanding.

Answer fromLauren Jewett

Every child is the 1 in 5 now

Amanda Morin’s article on Understood’s Medium page helped me make sense of how the pandemic is affecting nearly everyone’s executive functioning skills. It also helped me act with greater empathy for my students, their families, and myself. 

The article reminds us to be gentler with ourselves if we forget something, make a mistake, or cannot do something. It emphasizes that our humanity, vulnerability, and mental health should always be at the center.

Answer fromJessica Cisneros, MEd

Teacher to teacher: How racial identity work makes us better advocates for our students

Teachers around the country are in very different places when it comes to discussions about race in education. Some teachers have done this work. Others have not yet begun to examine their biases. This article has something for all teachers — no matter where they are. 

I appreciated how Shaquala Butler shared her own racial identity work and how it impacted her work with students. She also gives practical tips and resources that could benefit any educator because, as the article explains, our students are relying on us to disrupt systems of oppression.


Next steps