Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, teachers and students have been faced with many different challenges. One in particular was the shift from in-person instruction to remote learning in the earlier days of the pandemic. Now, with the uptick in the number of cases due to the Omicron variant, many classrooms across the US have switched back to remote learning, leaving others to wonder if they will be moved to a virtual setting sometime soon.
These constant questions and transitions can be difficult, but you can make it easier by being prepared. Here are some tips to help you stay prepped to switch to remote teaching at any time throughout the school year.
Check Your Equipment
Because you may have to transition into a remote classroom, perhaps overnight, you need to check your equipment on a regular basis. Make sure your computer is running properly and maintain software updates. There is nothing more frustrating than logging in to start class and waiting for an update to complete before you can begin. At the very least, you should have an up-to-date operating system, microphone, and webcam that are all in working order. You may also want to dust off that spot in your home that you used for remote learning instruction, making it clean, organized, and free from any background noise or distractions.
Balance Live Teaching With Individual Tasks
Instead of having students sit on video and watch the screen for hours at a time, provide instruction for the first 20 to 30 minutes and then allow them to finish the hour with individual or breakout group discussions or assignments. This will help your students build valuable autonomous learning skills. It can also help facilitate collaboration between peers. When they break off from the virtual classroom, they can discuss the assignment with other classmates.
Do Your Homework
There are ongoing webinars and training sessions about best practices for remote teaching. If you haven’t checked out our distance learning videos, they’re a great place to start bruising up on virtual instruction. In these short videos, Dr. Rhianna C. Rogers explores distance learning topics that include: introduction to education technology, tips for effective online teaching and learning, creating an engaging course experience, and more. Remember, now that we’ve all had experience with remote learning, many teachers are sharing ideas, tips, and tricks to help other teachers. Need more ideas? Check out PLS Classes distance learning resources.
Expect and Plan For Mistakes
Mistakes are inevitable, but they are terrific learning experiences. Give yourself and your students some grace when dealing with technology and this style of learning. When something happens, take the time to reflect on it with the student(s) and move forward. For example, if a student has trouble connecting or turning in an assignment and reaches out to you, give them a new due date and let them know you understand. Transitioning into a remote classroom can be more difficult for some students, especially those with limited access to technology.
Breaks are important for both students and teachers, especially in a remote setting that requires a lot of time staring at a screen. Sometimes it is easy to say, “I don’t need a break, I’m at home.” However, taking a step away from the computer and going on a walk or just taking a breather can help you approach the rest of the school day with a better attitude. Taking brain breaks or screen breaks will also help your students return with renewed focus.
Set Yourself Up For Success
You need to have a teaching area set up in your home. Make sure you have a comfortable chair and a calm environment to work in. Have the items you use regularly throughout the day within reach. Do what you can to set yourself up for success by creating an environment where you will be productive.
It’s Your Turn
Now that we all have a better handle on teaching remotely, what has worked best for you? Share your ideas in the comments section below.
Sketchley, M. (n.d.). Six steps to prepare for remote teaching. ELT Experiences. Retrieved January 18, 2022, from https://eltexperiences.com/six-steps-to-prepare-for-remote-teaching/#:~:text=%20Six%20Steps%20To%20Prepare%20for%20Remote%20Teaching,aspects%20of%20remote%20teaching%20is%20the…%20More%20
Stanimirovic, U. (2020, June 17). How businesses and employees can prepare for remote work. BRID TV. Retrieved January 18, 2022, from https://www.brid.tv/how-businesses-and-employees-can-prepare-for-remote-work/