There are certain characteristics that all great teachers share, from passion for their subject to an ability to forge strong relationships with students, a commitment to helping students meet high expectations, and strong listening skills, to name a few.
And while these traits will always be important, during today’s environment of online learning, your students need more from you to navigate these trying times and feel confident in doing so. Here are a few essentials for creating a good remote learning environment for your students:
Focus on the learning – Last school year’s remote teaching plan came together with no notice and little planning, but if your school is returning to remote instruction this year, your students are in for a whole lot of new. As best you can, stay close to the teaching and try not to get sidetracked with getting students to become experts on new programs and online tools. The more you can direct your efforts toward helping students build knowledge and learn, the more comfortable they will be.
Positivity – There’s plenty to be down about right now, but that’s definitely not what your students need. Do your best to stay optimistic about how this year will go and remind your students that none of these changes are permanent. Ask your students how they intend to better themselves and others this year. Encourage them to reframe the challenges they’re facing as opportunities for growth.
Understanding – These days, flexibility is the name of the game. Be understanding about the circumstances that students are facing at home and the skill gaps that might exist due to school closures in March. Acknowledge that the way you’ve always done things might not work right now. Offer students choices and give them ownership, and remember to stay focused on your primary goal: to teach.
It's a challenging time to be a teacher, no doubt. Remind yourself why you joined this life-changing profession, and focus on making a difference. Now more than ever, your students need you to come through for them. Stay the course and you and your students will emerge stronger and better.