Are you an educator struggling with online teaching? The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way we live and work, and it takes time to adapt. Teaching remotely presents a unique set of challenges, even if you’ve spent a lifetime in the classroom.
Don’t feel discouraged if you haven’t perfected the art of how to run online classes yet. You’re not alone, and there are many remote teaching tips that can help.
If you want to learn more, keep reading. Here are 10 pieces of advice for teachers working remotely. Try these strategies to boost your confidence and help your students learn online.
1. Break the Ice
It’s important to build community in the classroom, even when you can’t be together in person. On day one, facilitate introductions between students, teachers, and teaching assistants.
Make sure you learn how to pronounce every student’s name properly. Try to learn a few things about each participant. They will appreciate your effort to get to know them.
Fun icebreakers can help students feel more comfortable. As a result, they will speak up more often and you will enjoy better class participation.
2. Set Expectations Early
Navigating online learning is new for everyone. Nobody knows exactly how to behave in the Zoom classroom.
Work with your class to create a set of rules and expectations. Involve them in the process so they will feel invested in following their own guidelines.
Include recommendations related to showing up on time, using the mute button, and avoiding distractions.
3. Don’t Hide Your Home Life
Staying grounded in reality might be one of the best tips for distance learning. We all face similar challenges when working and learning from home. Being honest about these struggles will relieve anxiety.
Your students are dealing with distractions, uncomfortable chairs, and long hours in front of the computer. Reassure them that you are too. Don’t try to make your home life look perfect.
Be upfront about your pets, family members, and messes. Find ways to acknowledge them with humor and humility. It will put your participants at ease about their own imperfect surroundings.
4. Stick to the Schedule
Sticking to the schedule is a sign of respect, and it will keep your class on track. Knowing what to expect throughout the day also helps students relax. Uncertainty can cause serious stress.
Before you begin teaching, share the day’s agenda with your group. Set a timer and be sure to stay true to your word.
Give your students plenty of information about each activity. Explain the steps, how long the process will take, and what they must deliver. Clear communication is essential for successful online teaching.
5. Inspire Participation
Nothing is more boring than listening to the same person talk all day long. Watching them on a screen is even worse. To avoid putting your students to sleep, give them a chance to participate.
There are a variety of ways to engage your class members. Play games, or ask them to share memes related to the lesson.
You can even encourage everyone to show up with a comment or question for extra credit.
6. Minimize Screen Time
This tip might sound counterintuitive, but it works. If you want to know how to keep students engaged during online classes, reduce their screen time. Instead of planning long lectures, schedule offline learning.
Assign a creative project that requires your students to do independent research. Ask them to interview a community member or create a visual presentation. They can share what they learned at the end of the week.
Individual projects offer schedule flexibility and support a variety of different learning styles. To keep everyone on track, require daily evidence of progress.
7. Invite Guest Speakers
Introducing fresh faces to the classroom is one more way to keep things interesting. Invite an expert guest speaker to talk to your students.
The world’s best historians, artists, and scientists are working remotely too! Take advantage of their availability and schedule flexibility. You can also check with local museums to see if they offer any virtual field trips.
8. Eliminate Technological Challenges
Don’t burden your students with too many technological challenges. Learning how to use new web platforms is time-consuming. Allow them to focus on their studies instead.
When you do introduce an unfamiliar online tool, provide adequate instruction and support. You should know how to use it yourself before you ask students to adapt. Stay available in case anyone needs extra help.
9. Insist on Regular Check-Ins
It might seem like everything is going well, but you never know until you ask. Problems can go unnoticed when you’re not face-to-face with your students regularly.
Design ways to check in with them and see how they are feeling. Schedule one on one Zoom appointments or send out a survey at the end of the week. Address challenges right away so they feel supported and cared for.
You should plan a check-in with yourself as well. Leading a classroom remotely isn’t easy, so ask for help if you need it. And try not to sweat the small stuff – you’re doing your best!
10. Seek Specialized Training
If you feel overwhelmed, ask your employer to consider extra training. Hiring experts to support your online teaching journey can be a worthwhile investment.
Companies such as International School Leadership can help you develop the skills you need to teach via the internet. Their team can also support leaders and administrators as your school transitions to remote learning.
Follow These Tips for Teaching Remotely
Teaching remotely isn’t easy, but following these tips will help. Practice good communication and try to keep things interesting for your students. Regular check-ins will help ensure that they feel supported during this unprecedented time.
If all else fails, encourage your school to seek advice and training from an outside company. There are knowledgeable specialists who can help you become an effective online educator in no time.
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