5 Takeaways from My 1st Week of Remote Teaching


5 takeaways from my 1st week of remote teaching

Buckle up! If you're not remote teaching yet, it could be headed your way soon!

A little background... my first week of remote teaching took place in November. In my local district, teachers were teaching both hybrid and remote students. It was a crazy amount of work!! Thankfully, our SAU found funding for a 7th/8th grade math remote teacher to take away some of the burden of the other classroom teachers. I think there was likely exactly ONE certified math teacher sitting at home researching and writing math content, so I applied. This blog post is all about my 5 key takeaways from my first week of remote teaching as I entered mid-trimester and took over teaching all of our remote 7th and 8th graders.

1) COMMUNICATE

Communicate clearly with parents and students. Make sure expectations and schedules are crystal clear.  I took the time this week to send out batch emails with all the Zoom meeting times and links that they will need. I responded to every parent and student email promptly to ensure everyone understood the expectations of when to log on. My students in particular had been asynchronously remote learning for the first part of the year. This week I stepped in and the program itself was different. This caused a lot of confusion but emails and phone calls helped significantly.


my binders full of student info

2) ORGANIZE

I inherited 96 new students mid-trimester coming from 6 different math teachers. Oh. My. Gosh. The overwhelm potential was off the charts. I took a couple of hours right away to set up a binder for each of my 5 classes. I used dividers for each student. Then I organized every grades sheet printout from previous teachers, IEP, 504, ELL plans, important email correspondence, etc. I am so glad I took the extra time to do this, because now when I get a question about a student or an email from a parent I can open right up to that section of the binder and I have a little bit of context and background knowledge.


3) QUESTION

Don't hesitate to reach out to other teachers, guidance counselors, curriculum coordinators, ELL specialists, special ed teachers, administrators. Working from home can feel isolating if you let it. Especially as a new addition to the staff, I am trying to reach out to as many people as I can and attend all virtual meetings. Ask questions about why some students might not be engaging or how to best provide accommodations for other students. It takes a village! Don't let yourself become an island.


5 takeaways from my 1st week of remote teaching


4) OFFER GRACE

I tend to hold pretty traditional values. I like work to be turned in promptly for full credit. I think attendance is extremely important. Videos on is the best way to engage in our virtual classroom. BUT I have decided to take a step back and offer grace. Often times we have no idea what is going on with our students and their families. Covid has flipped everything upside down and communities are struggling. So I'm choosing grace. When a student emails about missing a Zoom due to a doctor's appointment or needing an extension or whatever the situation might be, the answer is "Thank you for letting me know. No problem!"


5) SHOW UP

The most important thing is to show up and be there for your students every day. It is so challenging to get to know students when you've never met in person and often times I am teaching to little gray boxes. Well, I make sure I hear their voice at least once each class. For attendance this past week, students needed to unmute, correct any pronunciation errors of their first or last name, tell me their nickname if they have one, and then tell me their favorite number or (the next class) tell me about their pets. I write everything down, and it all just continues to help me understand and get to know the students that I'm working with. As a teacher, in general, I show up smiling and inserting little off topic stories in order to engage my students in everything I'm trying to relay to them. I will show up as a supportive adult for them as often as I can to make these crazy times just a little better.

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1 Comments

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I use Google chat with each group that I teach. I post a question for students to respond. Then sometimes I ask verbal questions too. I can see who is with me and catch confusion a bit sooner.

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