Congratulations! You’re teaching an online class! (No, this is not sarcastic). There are many advantages to teaching online (but that’s next week’s blog). It can also be challenging at the beginning. So, here are my tips (I’m a big tipper) for making it fun and easier!
- Expect things to take longer. Not only do the students have to do the work, they also have to hand it in. Sometimes, there are problems handing it in. Sometimes their internet is slow. I give less work to my online students than I would to my in class students. Also, when you mark, the page has to load, so marking will take longer. Less work for the students, less marking for you – see how that goes?
- https://www.teacherspayteachers.com is your friend. Especially if you are teaching a new grade or subject, buying a unit (or a year of units) is totally worth it, in my opinion. It gives you a base that you can build on. If there are culturally inappropriate things, you can change them. If it doesn’t cover the whole curriculum, you can supplement it. However, the time it will save you in trying to find activities your students can do online will pay over and over again for the money you spent.
- Always assume the parents are listening – because they are. They are right beside your students, some of them doing your student’s work for them. This is a good thing (the listening, not doing their work) because you cannot be with your students, parent support is crucial to student success.
- Find Facts on Facebook – Facebook support groups for online teachers are full of very useful information! Find a community for your board or area and join! Virtual field trips, how to use online protractors, and people ranting about the exact same thing that made you angry that day (the principal asked you to read something and didn’t give you access to the document) are all great stress relievers!
- Be sure to set personal boundaries. Teaching online is a very steep learning curve at first and requires a lot of preparation. Be sure to set personal boundaries so you do not burn out. If you simply read a book about structures for Science one day, it’s not the end of the world! Better yet, have YouTube read it to them!