Three Positive Thoughts to Help You Thrive with Remote Teaching
byAugust 26th, 2020 All Blog Posts
After experimenting with a new normal for “summer vacation,” teachers now find ourselves in an exciting time of year: back to school. In the spring, after working tirelessly to stay connected with our teaching and our students, we may have thought there would be a light at the end of the teaching remote tunnel and we would return to once was, right? Now we find ourselves in September, and for many of us, we will be or already are connecting with our new students for the first time virtually.
Let’s be honest. How many of us were waiting it out, doing whatever was needed to be done to get by until this phase passed? Many, many of us. It’s clear now that we can no longer wait it out. It’s not passing as quickly as we hoped. We have to face the challenge of remote learning to make sure our
Here are three positive thoughts to focus on if you find yourself feeling overwhelmed or uncertain of how to teach in a remote or blended environment.
1. I have many strengths. When we work with students, we don’t start with their weaknesses; we start with and build from their strengths. Take stock of what you do well already: You’re really good at what you do. You just have to figure out how to share your passion for learning using a different format.
As teachers, we know that a motivated, happy, confident student has more capacity to learn than an unmotivated, unhappy, fearful student. As teachers, we’ve been thrust into the world of “learner” unlike any other time in our teaching career. What are you doing to take care of yourself? What are you doing to stay motivated (or get motivated)? What are you doing to be happy and confident? I ask my coaching clients, “What are your own strengths? What do you already do well?”
What do you tell the student who says, “I can’t do this. This is too much to expect from me. I don’t know how to do it this way.”? I believe you would be able to give me a litany of answers, a bullet list of to-do tactics to spur on your students. After all, that’s what we do! Think about you; what are you doing for you? Reflect on and make a list of your strengths. Refer back to this list to encourage yourself through difficult concepts and tasks.
2. I can make the tools work for me (practice, practice, practice!). You are going to have to learn some new things about the tools and platforms your school has available (e.g., Zoom, FlipGrid, local systems your school wants you to use). When you were becoming a teacher, you didn’t go directly into your own classroom on Day 1. You had a master teacher by your side to help you navigate all that was new and help you practice your craft. That’s also where a coach comes in.
Starting with an acknowledgement of what they already do well, I reaffirm my clients that it is possible to teach well online. Simple prompts I might use to start our conversations are, “How would you typically do ____? What would it look like, sound like in an online format? If you do this well, let me show you how to do it online or mimic it in a remote environment.”
My coaching sessions are all online. Some of my clients are very social, hands-on, sit-down-together-and-work-on-things types. They have told me that learning to teach remotely seems too hard to do online. I encourage them saying, “You can do this. You can learn online how to teach with digital tools. Someone just has to show you the way.”
3. I can innovate with what I know I can do. Once you have practiced with the technology available to you, then it’s time to practice planning and teaching online. For example, with planning lessons, a coach can guide you with questions like, “You used to plan a particular way, what would it look like using the digital resources at your disposal?” My clients sometimes ask for specifics, like, “How do you do talk moves online? What about choral responses? How do you manage and keep track of student responses and keep all students engaged?” I often offer to co-teach a live class with my coaching customers. This builds confidence in themselves as a teacher and also with their students.