Helping STEM teachers prepare for the return to the physical classroom

With schools up and down the country looking ahead to reopening in September, teachers are busy planning how best to support pupils with the return to the physical classroom. Many teachers will have to balance being in school as well as delivering remote teaching for students that are yet to return over the next month, and so supporting them in this complex task will be key.
For science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers, whose lessons are often more technical and project-based, access to reliable curriculum-aligned resources and skills training is particularly important. STEM subjects can be tricky to learn from home and students might need more support and time to catch up on topics in the classroom. It is vital that we help ease the workload for teachers while giving them the opportunity to upgrade their skills and knowledge about new technologies, so they are better prepared to teach.
STEM is more valuable than ever
In the modern classroom, STEM helps students develop critical skills that will benefit them beyond an educational setting. We live in a technology-oriented society and as new career opportunities emerge, it is of the utmost importance that schools prepare students for these industries. With this in mind, supporting STEM teachers means they are better able to help aspiring students secure a bright future career.
Providing accessible online lesson plans
So, what can be done to ensure the transition for teachers back to a physical setting is seamless? To start with, we can provide free access to materials that make lesson planning more manageable and allow them to boost their content knowledge, from the comfort of their own home. Utilising online resources that have been cross-checked and are factually reliable can provide teachers with the confidence to continue their instruction in a physical classroom exactly where they left off. This might include detailed and structured lesson plans with step-by-step guides and tutorials, and tips on the content students will find most engaging. Such an aid is especially valuable as teachers balance physical and remote teaching.
For example, if a biology teacher was preparing a lesson on the study of botany, it would be beneficial to make use of an online resource that provides lesson plans on whether plants need light to grow, and the importance of fertiliser. The lesson plan should provide overall learning objectives, so that students understand why this topic area is important for their academic progression, as well as activities to test the extent to which they have understood the content. This can include a practical experiment in which students record and observe the growth of plants with varying levels of exposure to light. These readily accessible lesson plans will help to alleviate pressure on teachers and provide them with reassurance that students will still receive an engaging lesson experience.
Utilising virtual training sessions
In addition, to further help teachers readjust back to a physical classroom, virtual training sessions can provide an extra layer of support for teachers who consider themselves to be ‘visual learners’. This is one of three basic styles of learning, in which the user prefers to see information in order to process it. Online education providers that can deliver remote training sessions for STEM teachers irrespective of their geographic location ensure that all teachers can continue to effectively learn the content that they will teach to their students, as well as key skills to enhance classroom engagement and understanding.
STEM-specific sessions can provide teachers with a wide array of content, including artificial intelligence (AI) which can be relayed in the classroom. For example, videos could focus on providing the teacher with a step-by-step instructional video on how to make projects with Raspberry Pi, which can help students learn how to programme in languages such as Scratch and Python. By making use of online training videos, teachers can enrich their knowledge while developing practical AI-based lessons for their students upon the return to school. 
As the phased reopening of schools gets underway, we must ensure that STEM teachers are effectively supported and confident enough to teach in the classroom once again. Access to engaging planning materials and virtual skills training can provide vital lesson inspiration, so teachers can in turn improve the experience and engagement for students.