By Ellen Eisenberg

By Ellen Eisenberg, Executive Director of The Professional Institute for Instructional Coaching (TPIIC)

Monday, March 15, 2021

Social media is a good news/bad news story. For instance, when reports about available vaccines are posted, we are thrilled with getting that information in a timely manner along with helpful hints to secure them. On the other hand, when reports are based on opinion rather than facts, being a discerning reader and critical viewer are critical for understanding and acceptance.

Now, take this one step further… what are educators posting and can the information be misconstrued or misunderstood? What is posted becomes one’s identity and forever associated with that person. Can something with an innocent intent be heard in a not so innocent way? (Think tone in an email!)

Especially in times of this pandemic, virtual or digital communication has been the only way to survive. In fact, not being totally prepared for the digital presence thwarted early learning opportunities. Teachers and students were thrust into each other’s living rooms, ready or not.

Students connect to their own classmates and beyond their classroom walls. They are super sleuths and can discover much about their peers, family friends, and their teachers by what is written on their social media platforms. And, we know that prospective employers check social media for any insight into their potential hires.

So while the article mentioned below is about colleges and universities, I think the lessons shared are universal.

Online posts and opinions must be carefully planned and executed; perception is reality. How one’s thoughts are perceived will follow that person indefinitely. As a result, educators have another obligation to fulfill… being responsible digital citizens because their reach is without boundaries.

“For so many students, educators not only instruct about curricula. They offer life: a living example of productive citizenship, ethical decision-making, and the continuous quest for knowledge and innovation” (, “Are You a Digital Threat to Your College?). Who you are becomes crystal clear from your online messaging. As Gandhi says,

“Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.”

And in the digital world, these live forever.

What is your advice for digital messaging?

Friday, March 5, 2021

To date, about half of American students are still learning virtually. Some teachers have received their vaccines but others are uncertain about when they will be vaccinated. Some are ready to go back now albeit with masks and socially distancing; some are holding tight. Some teachers’ unions are fighting efforts to return their members to crowded hallways; some are keeping their fingers crossed and going back. The issues to balance are unprecedented… should we or shouldn’t we go back to school? Some school administrators, city politicians, and parents feel the profound pressure to open schools, especially for those students who struggle academically and/or emotionally. Some are committed to waiting until some semblance of normalcy can return. But, when will that happen? Everyone wants the school community to be safe... we just all want to know when we can expect that to happen.

Schools will safely re-open eventually. I wish that were the only issue… ensuring that the school community is vaccinated against this deadly disease. That’s only one part of the equation. We are, thankfully, moving towards vaccinating everyone who wants a vaccine. And, vaccines for our teenagers are on the horizon as well.

What about our new learnings? What have we learned about our leaders, e.g., school, societal, political, religious, etc., and their commitment to change and the preparation needed to ensure that learning takes place regardless of the venue? Where is our guarantee that, “… model of education is the one that will best serve both our children and young people, as well as the educators who work with them: an education system that focuses on learning culture and nurturing of individual skills, knowledge, talents, interests and dispositions rather than being a factory standardized knowledge” (Jim Knight, Educate for Change, And he continues, “… we need to rethink how we educate and ‘grow’ our children, especially as we come through and beyond Covid-19.”

We know there will be some learning loss so how will we address that? Do we start the year with the assumption that our students won't know "that" and immediately ignore what they have learned? Or, will we plan to start the year on the grade level the year reflects and then differentiate our work to address the multiple skill levels our students will demonstrate?

How will we be prepared for the future?

Where will you be?