With such a rapid shift to online school, there are bound to be some mishaps … and lessons learned. We turned to our community of teachers to ask what they’re learning themselves about remote learning. Here are our favorite dos and don’ts of teaching online:
DO: Be prepared.
Make sure you have good lighting so your students can see your face clearly; face an open window or put a lamp next to your laptop.
Check your background for anything you don’t want to be visible in the video, or blur it if possible.
Αlways send your students some activities to print in advance so they’re not looking at the screen for the whole lesson.
Make sure you clear your web browser before you do a screen share video.
Start your meeting with everyone muted and ask them to sign into the chat box by answering an opening question (like a drill and you can take attendance this way also).
Hit record on all live webinar sessions. Tell the students and parents their session is being recorded, too. This will help them refer back to the video if they forget what you reviewed in the session with them.
DON’T: Overwhelm students.
Assign way less work than you think you should. Students are going to take much longer to complete it due to tech issues, stress, and the challenge of having to learn mostly on their own.
Give them less than a normal in-class day. They’re going to be relearning how to schedule and manage their time so they’ll be overwhelmed.
DON’T: Make assumptions.
Take into account that a lot of kids have other responsibilities when they’re at home: other classwork, chores, helping with siblings, etc. It’s not like when they’re in class and you have them for that allotted amount of time.
DON’T: Expect perfection.
Be patient. You may spend some time looking at their nostrils as they try and figure this out.
Remember that connections do break, especially if you’re trying to remain online for an extended period of time, like an hour or more. Don’t be surprised when it happens, but just take it as being a normal drawback of teaching online, like having a bee fly into the classroom.
DO: Give some grace.
Allow yourself (and of course your students) plenty of grace. Many students have taken on additional responsibilities to help out at home. Many of us teachers have, too. Be mindful.
Students are under a lot of stress just like teachers. Just like this isn’t a vacation for teachers, it’s not a vacation for students. They are scared.
Laugh at yourself and make mistakes. The kids need to know you are still the same person.