You’re burnt out. You’re tired of the pandemic. You’re craving in-person connections with students.
Does this sound like your mood with virtual teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic? These uncertain times have flipped the world upside down. If you’re looking to make this crazy style of teaching easier on yourself, continue reading to learn ways to make virtual schooling easier on teachers.
1. Communication is Key
The virtual space makes communicating with your stakeholders more challenging than before. Are you emailing or texting the same way that you did before the pandemic? Specific, detailed communication will make your life much easier as you continue to navigate teaching virtually.
2. Set Up a Daily Routine
In schools, teachers are told the importance of routines for their students. What about routines for yourself, though? The flexibility of working from home can make it easy to be lazy. This affects a person’s mental health, making it harder to focus and enjoy work. Add structure to your day by keeping a meal schedule, setting goals for chores, and changing out of pajamas each day. A daily routine may not be directly related to teaching, but it will help it in the long run.
3. Accept Hand-Written Work
Save time grading for everyone by using remote tools that allow your students to turn in hand-written work from their homes. This will allow you to post your assignments, and students can complete them in a way they are already comfortable: on paper. The site grades their work for you, making the grading process much more efficient.
I once had a teacher share the acronym “K.I.S.S.” with me–keep it simple, stupid. While you may not want to teach that to your students, it’s a good reminder for yourself as you write directions for activities. Keep them clear and concise so students can easily understand them. This will free up time spent answering questions about the work so you can focus more on what you want.
5. Establish a Home Base
Speaking of keeping things simple, give your students and their families one home base they can refer to for frequently asked questions. It may be tempting to use every new app, website, or digital tool, but this can be confusing for students. Use one space to share announcements, resources, and more.
6. Schedule Messages Early
Make technology work for you by utilizing features that allow you to post your messages ahead of time. Do you engage students in a check-in every week? Plan your check-in questions in advance and schedule to post to your online platform at the start of the month.
7. Create Longer-Term Projects
While you’re teaching in-person, daily worksheets may be perfect. In the digital space, though, this can become overwhelming for you. It creates a lot of grading. If you can form projects that take longer than a daily worksheet, this can alleviate your grading load. Take those daily worksheets and form them into a week long project so you have less to grade.
8. Connect, Connect, Connect
Educators are told constantly how students need connections every day. But adults do too! Prioritize connecting with one or more students personally each day. This will fill your teacher cup and help make it through working from home.
9. Let the Perfectionism Go
Teachers are often perfectionists. With good reason because if you slip up at work, there can be repercussions. However, take pressure off yourself by letting go of perfectionism. Allow yourself to understand you are surviving a global pandemic. It is okay to prioritize yourself!