Online learning has been here for quite some time, until recently, that it has been magnified and exploded in unprecedented proportion because of the effect of the pandemic. Now that it is the only rational option that schools have, everyone is rushing in to know more, to learn more and to be skilled more in the online platform. Educators are bombarded with ubiquitous information about this and that online modality, this and that platform, and so many ambiguous technicalities. They are trying to chew them all because time is running fast and the students have long been waiting. The response to this nerve-wracking situation is to simplify, digest information chunk-by-chunk, take it one day at a time and take a deep breath.
If you have not taken the step-by-step instruction in setting up your virtual class room, start your online class right.
For teachers who are anxious about starting online teaching, here are the things that you should bear in mind before you embark into distance teaching.
- Family members may be around during your class. Expect family members to be around, especially when you are teaching younger students. This is not like your usual classroom where nobody observes you as you deliver your lessons. Talk with the family members of your students, get the assurance of their support, and give them the assurance of your commitment to teach. Imply that you are in control when the kids are in your virtual class, so no need to linger around. Establish mutual trust. However, even though you have talked to them, there will still be family members who would be around while you are teaching. Put your best foot forward.
- Children are in their respective territories. You will be meeting your students in their respective places or homes, this is not your territory, you are not in your classroom. It is very difficult to impose rules and discipline, but you should be firm in doing so. Rules make life easier for students and teachers. Let them know that you are serious with the rules. Your rules should be their guiding light for the entire school year.
3. Learning resources are in the digital platform. Delivering lessons online is complicated in-itself. You don’t want your students to get confuse and lost in the myriad of instructions you are giving them remotely. Use a simple learning management systems for schools and universities (LMS) which is easy to use. There are many LMS around but some of them are complicated to use. Choose the best LMS that fits your needs and requirements. You just need a single digital platform where your students can access all the learning materials and resources, complete their tasks, do their home works, and class projects with ease.
4. Your students have no physical interaction and limited social interaction with one another. Since students are deprived of physical activities and social interaction with one another, make every class a fun class. Provide interaction with classmates, give at least 10 minutes to chat or talk with one another in their synchronous class. Nothing beats an enjoyable classroom. Collect fun online Collect fun online classroom games activities for virtual class. Make your students enjoy while learning. Make them look forward everyday in your virtual classroom. Seeing your students enjoy your class is good for your mental health too.
5. Not all students can cope with online class. Not all students are the same. They vary in their attitude, character, skill, talent and in many things, and not all of them can cope with the lessons delivered through virtual classrooms. Value their individual differences. Communicate individually with your students and your students’ parents or guardians. While you communicate, maintain your integrity and authority as a teacher, because there are parents who are over demanding, insensitive and irrational. Communicate with respect and show genuine concern for their child.
6. Cyber bullying is real. Be aware of cyber bullying, especially when you are teaching middle grades to high school. Be observant and be very sensitive. Many researches show that many victims of cyber bullies do not talk about it with their parents. Teachers are the next close adult around that could help students. Talk about it in your class, repeat if necessary, as often as you can. Tell them that you are there willing to protect and listen to them whenever they need you. Give indirect stern warning to prospective bullies in you class.
7. The internet is a potentially dangerous place for students. With all the wonders that the internet brings to the world, it also brings unimaginable dangers to kids and teens. Educate your students and parents of the different dangers that the internet poses.
8. Technical glitches cannot be avoided. Accept the fact that not all the time, you are in control. There will be times that you will encounter technical issues in internet connection, in the LMS or in your computer devices, as long as it does not happen often, you are OK. Things get messy sometimes just let your students and parents understand it. Find time to get a crash course in trouble shooting common computer issues so that when you encounter one, you’ll know what to do.
These are some of the important things that online teachers need to know before starting their online classes. As long as you anticipate all of these, you are safe from stress and you will go smoothly in your new career as an online teacher. Go for it!