Teachers have never had it as hard as they do today. Over the years in their careers, they’ve established routines and skills that have served their classroom abilities well.
Recently, all of that has been thrown out the window. The conventions that teachers were used to are no longer relevant to educating. Distance learning has put the nail in the coffin of traditional teaching and all of the methods that go with it.
Now, teachers face a challenge that is unlike any past generations have had to deal with. Having to teach a class either through hybrid learning or fully distant is uncharted territory.
While we can’t give you the magic answers when it comes to effective distance teaching, we can help you with maximizing your efficiency when you have to teach from home.
1. Make Use of New Resources
You should be using online resources in your regular teaching, but that goes double for your distance lessons. The advantages of teaching over a live call is that you have everyone on a computer, so make the most of that.
There are plenty of different websites for every imaginable subject that is going to be an immense help to you.
You don’t have the dynamics that being in a classroom brings, so don’t be afraid to lean on external sources to give you a helping hand.
2. Change Things Up as You Go
Nobody quite knows how to teach online effectively. Every day, new methods are being tried and tested, and old ones are being tossed out. You need to be doing this too.
The online teaching transition is as much a learning experience for you as it is for the student, so stay open to the idea of making some changes along the way.
If you find that something isn’t working too well, toss it. If you have an idea, try it. If you find something is particularly effective, keep it.
Over time, your lessons are going to become better and better. Not only does this help you, but your students as well.
3. Keep a Record / Journal of Your Teaching
We’re not talking about a lesson journal in the regular sense. What we are specifically referencing here is keeping some writing on your experience with the online transition.
We mentioned trying out things in the last tip; when you do, write it down. Evaluate what works and doesn’t, and why it performs to that level.
We keep hammering home this idea that no one knows what they’re doing, but it’s true. By keeping an up to date diary on your online teaching, you don’t only help yourself, but academia as a whole.
4. Dress As You Would for Class
When you’re teaching from home, it can be very tempting to dress very loosely. That’s not to say you’re going to show up in your PJs, although if that’s what you would wear to class, then go for it.
No. Instead, we’re talking about wearing some loose tracksuit bottoms instead of slacks. A baggy t-shirt instead of a polo. Slippers instead of shoes.
While this informal dress code is great for comfort, it’s also a productivity killer.
If you dress as you do for work, your brain thinks it’s working and operates at a higher level. If you’re wearing the clothes that you lounge around in, then your brain thinks that’s what it’s doing.
5. Try to Separate Your Teaching Area from Your Sleeping Area
We know that not everyone has this option. If you do, though, you need to be taking advantage of it.
It’s the same principle as to how you dress. Your brain associates the bedroom with rest, so you’re going to tire out much quicker than you would, say, at the kitchen table.
6. Communicate, Communicate, Communicate
One of the biggest teaching online tips that we can give you is to communicate as much as you can.
Students are unbelievably unsure at the moment. With things up in the air and no way to have open communication, some of them fear being kept in the dark.
Avoid this by keeping a list of all your student’s emails. If you’re going to be 10 minutes late to a lesson, send out an email and let them know. Don’t keep them guessing.
7. Get Your Lesson Ready Ahead of Time
If you’re looking at how to improve your online teaching, this is a biggie, especially if you struggle with tech.
Anything can go wrong with a computer at any point. Things don’t sometimes work for seemingly random reasons.
There’s no avoiding this, but you can minimize it by making sure your lesson is ready ahead of time.
We’re not talking about the material, as that should obviously already be prepared. We mean the slides and resources you’re using. Have them launched and ready to go on your computer before the class starts.
8. Use an Ergonomic Workstation
Being able to stand up in the classroom helps keep you energized. You don’t have that luxury anymore. Instead, you should be using an ergonomic workstation.
9. Stay Hydrated
It’s a cliché, but if you want to improve your online teaching, then you need to follow it.
Just keep a water bottle with you at your desk, and refill it in between lessons. Sip on it every now and again to keep yourself active and paying attention to what you’re actually doing.
10. Don’t Stress
The number one teaching online tip we have for you is not to stress out. You’re not going to be perfect right now, and no one expects that of you.
We’re all still figuring this out, so just keep moving forward. If you do that, then you’re online teaching skills are going to improve naturally.
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