Teachers! What’s your plan for next school year? Hybrid? Online Learning? Next year is still up in the air for a lot of us. And it could change a couple of times during the school year.
However, it does appear that many students will spend the start of the year in online learning, and many students will be in a digital classroom for most of the year. It also appears that we may not have spent enough time learning from our mistakes with online learning in the spring because we thought this would all be over by now. We’d be back to something resembling regular school.
But here we are in the most challenging time in education we’ve ever faced. And we definitely have to stay positive ourselves.
Here are some best practices with online learning.
Bring your enthusiastic self to the computer every day. Make sure your students know you’re excited they are there. Just a little bit of positive energy will make your class one they’ll look forward to, even if you aren’t actually in front of them.
Model the ability to adjust and adapt.
Students look to teachers for how to respond to difficult circumstances. Model for them how you respond to challenges and difficulties with a positive mindset. Show them that a great deal of good can be accomplished with the situation is less than ideal. Most importantly, things won’t go as planned. A lot. This is all new for everyone. Model the important skill of responding to setbacks will patience and calm and an ability to get back up when thing don’t go well.
We are all new to online learning and it will take a while to get good at it. How you respond to setbacks and frustrations will teach them how to manage them.
Dress For Success.
Sure, you might be teaching from home. And it’s tempting to throw on sweats and a T-shirt and get to work because, who cares, really?
Yes, you can deliver excellent instruction without looking your best. It doesn’t fundamentally change your abilities as a teacher. However, if you dress down it reflects the value of what the students are getting from you. It may make it seem like it doesn’t really matter.
Be professional. If you show up to online learning dressed professionally, it will have a positive impact on how students view their instruction.
I talk to much in the classroom. I’m sure I’m not the only one.
One of the benefits I’ve noticed in virtual meetings is the power of the mute button. If you mute yourself, and you’re still there, you are telling people that you want to listen. You won’t interrupt. Someone else has the floor.
Use the mute button often in your online classroom. Show the students you are waiting for them to talk to each other. Not only will they be taking ownership of what happens in the class, but you’ll also be building community as well.
Don’t underestimate what you can accomplish.
I know. It’s really tempting to write this year off. How will we get to know our kids? How will they ever learn anything? But we have to approach the new school year with the belief that we can create great learning experiences for our children no matter what challenges are before us.
We were not called to be teachers only in ideal conditions. In fact, it’s possible that this is the time when we are needed the most by our students.
I’m reminded of the scene in Apollo 13 right after the famous “Houston, we have a problem” line. Someone in Mission Control says that this will be the biggest disaster in NASA’s history. Gene Kranz, played by Ed Harris, says “On the contrary, gentlemen, I think this is going to be our finest hour.”
That’s the attitude we need!
Let’s do this!
Keep it fun!
We need to keep our classes lighthearted and one way to do that is through comics! If you teach ELA I have a series of comics that tackle serious language arts concepts in a lighthearted way your students will love. I have a series of lessons done as comics that address various ELA topics like grammar, poetry, editing, and Shakespeare, all of which are well suited to a remote learning environment. All the fun is there for you, and your kids will love studying any of these topics because they’ll get a new comic every day! Please check out my resources and let the learning begin! Click on Robert Frost below to get a free lesson!
If you need more resources ….
Here are some more blog posts on remote learning: