As a current or future educator, you may be comparing various teaching settings in the field of education. Now, more than ever, we see great diversity in school settings and teaching environments. Think about if you would find your best fit in a traditional classroom setting (private, charter or public school), a hybrid classroom, online classroom, micropod or home-school setting. Each of these settings brings differences in the areas of planning and preparation, as well as learning environments and professional development.
In a traditional classroom, we see student desks or tables arranged to accommodate each student for the majority of the school day. How the desks are arranged is dependent upon that particular teacher’s teaching style or the learning style of that particular school. A teacher in this setting lectures, guides and assesses students in a face-to-face format. Lessons are whole group, small group or in some cases one-on-one.
If you enjoy person to person interactions and using physical learning objects - such as with experiments, modeling or manipulatives - this setting could be ideal for you. In addition, teaching in this setting allows you to form a supportive relationship with your students and have a close role in meeting their social-emotional needs.
In hybrid classroom settings, teachers and students meet in person for some class sessions and online for other sessions. Sometimes this is determined as a set schedule for days of the week or times of the day. For example, class meets in person Monday through Wednesday, and online Thursday and Friday. The teacher designates synchronous or asynchronous learning activities to be completed during the online sessions.
A teacher who thrives in this setting is highly organized and efficient using technology systems and applications. It is also important to have strong communication skills to share information and goals with families to ensure students are consistently supported in their academic and social-emotional development.
Teaching in a fully online classroom requires teachers to be proficient using technology and databases. An online classroom may be totally synchronous, asynchronous or a blend of the two. These teachers are quick to respond to student inquiries, provide detailed feedback on assessments and set a supporting learning environment within their online classroom platforms.
When taking on the role of a home-school teacher, the educational environment will be reflective of what is important to you as an educator. If you are passionate about inquiry-based learning and the scientific process, many subjects will be embedded through this lens. On the other hand, if you value a strong literary base, you could use literature-based experiences to lead learning in other subject areas.
It is important as a home-school teacher that you ensure all subject areas are covered in a balanced manner and that you use standards-based instruction. You have the opportunity to curtail learning to meet the particular needs of your child, or children, so interventions for learning should be strengthened.
Micropods, also called micro-schools or pandemic-pods,1 have mostly arisen because of the events of the past few years. Similar to home schooling, this form of school environment typically is set in a residential environment, working with a small group of children at his/her home. The educator may be someone hired by the community to teach the children, or it may be a parent.
Typically, there are a maximum of 10 children within a micropod. Educators in this setting will collaborate on social media or blogs to discuss content and strategies. If you like small group instruction and thrive teaching those closest to you, this may be the best setting for you.
Teaching in each of these school settings can look and feel very different. Finding the best fit for you will require you to conduct research, participate in observations and networking as you learn about the uniqueness of each school setting.
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1Retrieved from Today, What are ‘micro-schools’ and ‘pandemic pods’? in April 2022
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.