This is a hard one for me.
I have very high expectations for both myself and my students. I’m sure you do as well. So suddenly being told that I can’t expect my students to even work on (much less complete) the assignments that I am expected to create really bothers me.
But then I stop and take a deep breath (always good advice).
Yes, I will still work hard to create engaging assignments and resources for students. Yes, I will still send my Google form check-ins and schedule Google Meets with my students. But even if only a few students do the work or fill out the forms or join the meetings, I’ll accept that and call it a win.
I have to continually remind myself of these five things:
1 – Understand that every student is in a different space in terms of what they can actually do.
Some students will have more support than others. Some students will be doing more work (childcare, other chores) at home than what they usually have to do.
Some students will find it difficult to focus on distance Learning. (This last one will come as no surprise in terms of students having difficulty with focus. But this type of learning might be more difficult even for the students that ordinarily stay focused and engaged.)
2 – Be flexible and offer as many choices as possible. This will help me to best meet different student learning needs and differentiate as best I can, under the circumstances.
3 – If students are not completing any tasks, I have found it helpful to reach out to them by phone. This is not to berate them for not completing tasks, but just to find out what is going on with them and find out what they might need from me. They were so excited to hear from me. And when I reminded them that I was also reaching out to them through email and Google classroom, they actually worked on several tasks.
4 – When you start to get overwhelmed with all you have to do, remember: You only need to stay one or two steps ahead of your students. You don’t need to overhaul everything in one day or one week. While you may have made plans for a longer range period of time, you only need to provide a few things for your students at one time. In fact, I’m finding that all of this works better when I only send ONE assignment per subject at a time. (I do think it helps to have a weekly learning calendar, like THIS ONE, but a daily reminder or a daily assignment posting is sufficient.
5 – Give yourself grace, give your students grace, give your families grace. Understand that you are on a huge learning curve right now and nothing will be as perfect as it would be if you had had months to prepare for this change. Your students may be doing more “work” at home in terms of helping with younger siblings or doing extra chores. And your parents/caregivers are either continuing to work outside the home or they may be working at home and juggling multiple responsibilities. There will be varying levels of commitment to academics right now.
Here’s a good reminder:
In the next post, I’ll share tips for setting up a productive working space.
The post Tips for Distance Teaching & Learning While Saving Your Sanity – Part 2 appeared first on Still Teaching, Still Learning.