For majority of us remote teaching and learning is a new experience, myself included. I’ve learned, in this short period of time, that you have to take what you are given and go with the flow. No one said this was going to be easy, yet no one said it shouldn’t be fun! During this unusual and historical occurrence that the country and the world is facing, it is important that we remember to provide opportunities to learn. Here are 10 tips for teachers on how to teach remotely.
Take time to plan– Just like you would do in a classroom setting, it is important that you take time to plan. This is a different type of planning and you want to make sure students are enjoying their time. You are not physically there to help out with a math equation or guide a student through a reading passage. Carefully plan out what you want to present to teach everyday and allow yourself to think about what is important and what is not. We do not want to provide busy work but an opportunity for students to be engaged in the learning process.
Be creative– Teachers and companies have come together to provide fantastic resources available to teachers and students. Use these resources to your advantage! Engage students in the learning process even through technology. Challenge them to seek out answers, create a presentation, or use their creativity to craft a project. Your students will thank you in the long run. Here is a link to Education Companies Offering Free Subscriptions due to School Closings also follow Amazing Educational Resources on Facebook.
Make assignments clear– Put all of your assignments in one place for students to access. Do not overwhelm students with hours of work they need to do. Make a video explaining the day’s lessons and objectives and inform the students exactly what you would like them to do. The clearer your directions, the more successful students will be. Also, have all resources available so students won’t ask where the website is located or how to access a worksheet needed to complete.
Step out of your comfort zone– Try new things! This is a perfect opportunity to try out a brand new website or create a class project that you’ve never done before. Allow yourself and students to struggle and succeed. Remember this is a learning opportunity for all of us and it is best to remember that this is what education is all about: learning, growing, and overcoming. I mean, lets face it, the worst thing that can happen is something goes wrong or not as planned and this is what we teach students everyday to conquer and overcome.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel– Chances are, what you may be thinking is already out there somewhere on the web. Research and save yourself time and energy to find what you are looking for. If you are the type of person that wants to create a brand new resource, all the power to you! Try looking on Teachers Pay Teachers for amazing resources from educators at all grade levels and expertise.
Self care– Just because learning has moved remotely does not mean that you need to stop taking care of yourself. Make sure you are doing what you need to do in order to be the best teacher you can be during this time. Take breaks, go on walks with your dogs or family, watch your favorite show on Netflix or Disney +, talk on the phone with a friend. You should be taking care of yourself so you can take care of the ones you care about.
Stay connected with colleagues– The best resource and support are from your grade level teams and school staff. Make sure you are checking in with them to see if they can offer support and guidance and if you could help them in any way. You can create a group chat with your coworkers and discuss possible lessons or whole school projects.
Don’t overwhelm yourself– Take it one day at a time. Do not feel like you need to get the entire weeks worth of videos and lessons recorded, edited, and uploaded in one night. Take your time and give your best effort in every detail that you want to provide to students. If you find yourself getting overwhelmed, take a step back and take a break. You will return with a clear head and less stressed.
Think non-tech options– Some students do not have internet access and do not have the option to listen to videos, play interactive games, or complete digital worksheets. For these students think of options like choice boards where students pick and choose academic related activities to complete. Take-home packets are a valuable resource to help students practice skill learning and help them continue to grow as learners. Here is a sample of a 4th grade choice board I sent home with my students who did not have internet.
Be available – Provide students and parents with your school email so they can contact you when needed. Regularly check your messages to respond. Using platforms like Remind and Class Dojo are simple and easy ways for you to communicate with parents.
Have fun!- I’ve learned in this short amount of time that remote learning can be really fun. Record funny videos of your pet while you are at home and send it to students. Have students record a how-to video about building a lego car or draw a picture of a hippo. Bring a whole new aspect to creativity through home learning. Conduct science experiment tutorials that students can do at home with their family. The possibilities are endless!
Teachers, we will get through this. I hope these tips help you be the best teacher you can be!
-Nikki Fishman @fishmaninfourth