The Ultimate Guide To Remote Teaching – From a Remote Teacher
With 87,000+ schools closing, the idea of school districts moving to a digital platform has become a reality. As a teacher, you’re probably feeling information overload. Not only is your normal day to day routine of teaching completely changed, but the sheer amount of tools and information to go through can also be staggering.
As a virtual teacher, I promise you, this can be an opportunity to build relationships, achieve academic objectives, promote a fun learning environment, and I can show you how.
1. Create a Schedule
- Start by creating a weekly schedule for yourself. Pro tip: Time-blocking or scheduling chunks of time for certain tasks will net you the most productive use of your time.
- Post your availability and schedule publicly so students and parents can see it. Here’s an editable Google Sheet Calendar I use to post all the times for my collaborations, live lessons and office hours.
- Use synchronous AND asynchronous learning. Be flexible, but also set up a routine and schedule of events to help your students stay on track (and keep your sanity).
2. Narrow down your tools
- The amount of free resources, tools, lesson plans, etc, being offered has been overwhelming, but for now, worry about getting comfortable with a only a few.
Here is a list of essential tools:
- A landing page or Learning Management System (LMS) for your students (Google Classroom, IXL, Canvas, ClassTag, Weebly, Nearpod, Flipgrid, Schoology,etc.)
- A Video/Web/Phone Conferencing Service (Zoom, Google Hangouts, etc.)
- A directory of student and parent phone numbers. (ClassTag, Google Sheets, IXL, etc.)
3. Build Relationships
The virtual classroom might seem impersonal. In actuality, this environment lends to building deeper relationships with students, because of the unique opportunity to interact one on one with them, and their families.
Here’s how to make this a learning adventure for the entire family:
- Use a platform like ClassTag to stay connected to parents. Share announcements, messages, photos, documents, videos, newsletters, and more while opening up a line of communication.
- If you have the ability, give each family a call! Have a few ready topics to talk about and collect some information (i.e. updated phone numbers, working digital devices and working emails). Let them know what they can expect their learning to look like at this time.
4. Create Routine and Procedures
- Online learning can be flexible and enriching for students, but just like a traditional classroom, you’ll need to have a set of routines and procedures. You’ll want to be flexible, but still set expectations.
- Make sure this is clear to both parents and students. You can share an announcement using ClassTag to let students and parents know what to expect. Or even better: record a screen share video with Loom and add it to your announcement.
5. Lesson Plans
- Many teachers and LMSs are offering free lesson plans. If you are going for a different approach, there are many teachers offering free printables and digital lesson plans on Teachers Pay Teachers.
- Mix up your lessons. Provide a mixture of live lessons and lessons for students to work on collaboratively or independently.
6. Tips and Tricks to Keep Your Sanity
- Meet with your colleagues remotely. Discuss best practices and consider sharing your calendars. Consider sharing calendars and rotate teaching live lessons for entire grade levels or subject area. This gives more flexible learning opportunities for students, and lightens the workload.
- Get a free Google Voice phone number if you want to call students, but don’t want them having your phone number. It allows students to both text and call you for free and you can connect with them using your computer instead of your personal phone number.
- Be flexible. Students come from various backgrounds and might not have access to technology or limited access. Print out lessons beforehand and give them period calls to check-in.
- Don’t forget to give yourself breaks. Working at home seems luxurious (hello, yoga pants!), but can quickly start encroaching on family and relaxation time. Schedule breaks and separate home and work.
Moving to the virtual classroom might seem overwhelming, but take this as a golden chance in forging relationships outside the traditional classroom; the experience might surprise you!