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How to Be a Successful Virtual Teacher

Samantha Hall, a social studies instructor with Marion Virtual School, offers 6 tips to help educators move their instruction online as the coronavirus outbreak closes schools.

Schedule out your week

Synchronous vs asynchronous:  An effective online teacher combines both synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities for their students.

Virtual Teacher Tip: Have scheduled live lessons “office hours” or collaborations throughout the day at specific times, but allow for plenty of time for students to complete work in a more flexible time frame.

Start with a weekly schedule for yourself. Virtual Teacher Tip: Time-blocking, or scheduling chunks of time for certain tasks, will net you the most productive use of your time.

Post your availability and schedule in an easy to find place. Here is a simple and easy to read calendar template I use with my students.

Narrow down your tools

In a virtual world, you’re going to need to make a few choices right out the gate. That being said, you might want to try other tools as time goes on.

Here is my list of essential tools:

  • A landing page or Learning Management System (LMS) for your students (Google Classroom, IXL, Canvas, ClassTag, Weebly, Nearpod, Flipgrid, Schoology)
  • Video/Web/Phone Conferencing Service (Zoom, Google Hangouts)
  • A directory of student and parent phone numbers.

Build relationships

The virtual classroom might seem impersonal. In actuality this environment lends to building deeper relationships with students, because of the unique opportunity to interact one on one with them, and their families.

If you have the ability, give each family a call! Have a few ready topics to talk about and collect some information (i.e. updated phone numbers, working digital devices and working emails). Let them know what they can expect their learning to look like in your classroom.

Routine and procedures

Online learning can be flexible and enriching for students, but just like a traditional classroom you’ll need to have a set of routines and procedures. You’ll want to be flexible, but still have expectations so students know what to expect.

Use screen recording apps such as Loom, Screencastify and Screencast-O-Matic to get students familiar with your online learning expectations.

Lesson plans

Many teachers and Learning Management Systems (Canva, Flipgrid, Nearpod, etc.) are offering free built in lesson plans. If you are going for a different approach, there are many teachers offering free printables and digital lesson plans on Teachers Pay Teachers.

Tips and tricks to keep your sanity

Meet with your colleagues, even if it is remotely. Virtual Teacher Tip: Consider sharing calendars and rotate teaching live lessons for entire grade levels or subject area. This gives more flexible learning opportunities for students, and lightens the workload.

If you want to call students, but don’t want them having your phone number, get a free Google Voice Number. It allows students to both text and call you for free and you can connect with them using your computer instead of your personal phone number.

Don’t forget to give yourself breaks.

Moving to the virtual classroom might seem overwhelming, but take this as a golden chance in forging relationships outside the traditional classroom; the experience might surprise you!

Excerpted from “How to be a successful virtual teacher” in eSchool News. Read the full article for more details on these tips.

Source: eSchool News | How to be a successful virtual teacher, https://www.eschoolnews.com/2020/03/26/how-to-be-a-successful-virtual-teacher | © Copyright 2020 eSchoolMedia & eSchool News

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