We have heard it over and over again in the last few months – this moment in time is nothing we have ever seen and experienced before. And it is true. Teacher life is dramatically different from how we have always known it. Although it won’t be like this forever, we need to look at how we can be the best teachers in the present moment. But most of all, we need to show up in the best way possible for our students.
This isn’t a post with a list of things you should be doing or how to change up your pedagogy. It is a list of a few things that we have thought of to help you when undertaking distance learning. Some points will be welcomed reminders, some maybe ideas to help but most of all we hope it provides you with a source of comfort.
- Keep it simple. Clear, concise teaching and instructions will help to limit misconceptions for students.
- Plan one week at a time. With guidelines changing so rapidly, it is a good idea to have one week of online lessons and one week of classroom lessons ready. Planning too much in advance may mean you will be doing things twice.
- Now is the time to put the perfectionist hat away.
- Use this opportunity to learn new techie skills and don’t forget to log what you can as professional development.
- Include learning experiences or activities that focus on student wellbeing.
- Set up folders in your mailbox for each student, so you can easily track the communication between students and parents.
- Limit the digital platforms you use! Your hands may be tied depending on your school, so use the time to embrace the change and go with the flow.
- Consider implementing a long term project for your students that will cover a variety of learning skills. Try to allow opportunities for student choice as this will attribute to higher engagement.
- Find time to touch base one on one or in small groups with your students. It could be a phone call, video call or anything else that works for you. Times like this we want and need to feel connected!
- This is a time that will be remembered throughout history. Encourage students to keep a journal as a part of writing lessons. It will make a special keepsake for years to come.
- Give yourself grace. This is unchartered territory.
We also have a blog post with some handy tips for parents too. Feel free to share it with them, it may even help if a student takes an extended holiday or for families that need more support and guidance for weekly homework. Find it here.
Finally, there is a helpful resource in our store which was created with these current circumstances in mind. Our Digital Learning Grids. The great thing is these grids can be used even when you’re back in the classroom for lesson ideas, extension activities, or homework tasks.
Digital Learning Grids
Update: Even though distance learning has drawn to an end in Australia, we don’t know if we will one day, sooner or later, be required to teach remotely. We believe these suggestions are still relevant and are interwoven with face to face teaching. So, with the tips suggested in this post, our aim is always to give support and encouragement to fellow educators.
We’d like to send a big shout out to thank all the teachers for everything you do!
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