Adapted with permission from ESSDACK
Internally with yourself: Start with your goals. What do you really want and need from and for your learners right now and long-term?
Internally with your team: Have a group of educators you can reach out to for help, processing, and celebrating together. None of us can do this alone. Is this your grade level/content team? Is this a group of educator friends at school or online? Be connected with other educators too.
Let’s get started
Establish a presence with your learners. Be there. Communicate with them how they can reach you and be clear about when you’re available and not available. Use your district’s common communication management system such as SeeSaw or Google Classroom, where you can post announcements and host discussions, both synchronously and asynchronously.
Post videos of yourself, even if it’s just to say “Good morning!”. Show your personality and let your love of teaching and students shine through. This may also be an opportunity for you to engage with all members of the family.
Think about your physical set up. Are you comfortable? How is the lighting? Be sure you’re lit from the front and not just a dark shadowy figure sitting in front of a window. Be sure to use earbuds with a microphone or a headset with a microphone if possible. If not possible, speak slowly, loudly, and clearly. Remember that some students may have slower Internet connections.
Consider setting a consistent schedule when students can be with you for a check-in/class meeting. Do you have a regular classroom tradition for when students enter your room? Do it again! Greet them by name. This helps them feel connected and builds community. Find a thread that you can bring from the traditional classroom into this new classroom.
Break the work into smaller chunks. Learning online takes time -- more time than in the classroom. Be considerate and thoughtful as students adjust to a new learning process. Build in time for students to learn how to manage continuous learning.
Set times when you will be available to answer questions and connect students with technical support. Build in times for breaks – both for students and for you! Clearly communicate this schedule to students and their families.
Engage your students by picking interesting, enriching challenges and experiences. Find ways to extend their academic skills into the world they’re in right now.
Provide the opportunity for your students to interact with their peers online. This might mean giving feedback on an assignment, making a collaborative response, or beginning group sessions with a social connection and check-in. This can leverage technology to build stronger and deeper relationships.
Remember: start slow to go fast. Feel free to add your own personal touch to this new online learning experience.
Lastly, set office hours for yourself. Build a time when you will NOT be connected and you will not be responding. Find balance.