#5 Empower your students by appointing technical assistants
All over the globe, educators work remotely. Through remote teaching, many schoolteachers don’t enjoy their job anymore.
Joyless lessons are a dramatic problem for student’s learning success. If teachers aren’t fond of teaching, students aren’t fond of learning either.
“Teachers who love teaching teach children to love learning.”
— Robert John Meehan
Hence, as an educator, it’s your responsibility to relish online teaching as much as possible.
Here are four actionable steps for making your remote teaching fun.
1. Close your device and allow digital time-off
Be okay with not being accessible 24/7. Set your boundaries. Be clear about when you are not reachable.
Before remote schooling, you set your natural boundaries by leaving the school building.
Working from home, you are responsible for creating those boundaries. If you do not create barriers, your students can neither see nor accept them.
Even if you’re not physically in the same building with your students, teaching is still emotional work.
For example, if you correct assignments on google classroom, you put yourself in the eyes of each of your students. That’s tiring.
Allow yourself to take digital breaks during the day. Award your eyes with unfocused glances into the distance. Slow down your speed of thought.
Put on your favorite music and dance for some minutes. Take the time to prepare your meal.
Here’s a list of things you can do in your home while taking a break:
- Meditate for a few minutes. If you don’t know how to start, consider trying Calm or Headspace.
- Breathe deeply or become versed in the breath of fire.
- Take a nap — take a look at this TED Talk by Matthew Walker in case you think resting is a waste of time.
Only if you feel rested and in balance, you can revel in teaching.
Remember to take digital time-off and close your devices, even for some minutes during the morning.
2. Schedule digital breaks with your students
Do you remember your student, that regularly asked whether you like the new __________ (haircut /outfit /ruler)?
Don’t you miss the casual, comical conversations in the hallway? Many of your students do miss the break time with you.
You were and still are, a critical person of reference for your kids.
Stay this person of reference for students. Give them time to talk to you outside of task assignments.
A “google meets” every other day can do the job. Label this 10–15 minutes meeting as collective recess.
Your students determine what to talk about. In my class, I implemented the “we do not talk about assignments during the break” rule.
You’ll be surprised how much you learn by seeing your students in their homes.
Soon you’ll realize that these playful moments lighten up your days. Joint breaks make your teaching more joyous.
3. Make one cheerful call for every negative call you make
Sounds like extra work? From a time-wise perspective, I’d agree. But you will soon appreciate the energy generated by those appreciation calls.
Your student’s parents do struggle theses days: short-time working, cut paychecks, cramped living conditions, or sick relatives. The list of burdens is endless.
An unexpected encouraging call from your kid’s teacher will bring a smile on their faces. And on yours, too.
You will realize that positive feedback calls bring joy into your days. You will soon realize your motivation hits peaks after such a dialog.
Use this motivation to enjoy your teaching. You deserve to have fun during remote schooling!
4. Stay in touch with colleagues you love talking to
During a precorona week of school, conversations with colleagues happened naturally (sometimes even too much).
Now, the natural exchange with your colleagues is gone. Unless your school hosts online conferences with networking time, you don’t chat with your co-workers.
The lack of natural chatter offers an opportunity for you:
Schooling remotely, you decide whom you want to call. Probably your choice does not fall on the negative, gossiping co-teacher.
You can selectively pick the persons you want to chat with. Call the ones you admire. Text the teammate you miss — Check-in with your humourous companion. Laugh together, gossip together, and share your worries.
“All problems exist in the absence of a good conversation.”
— Thomas Leonard
These conversations will wash away any humdrum and make your remote teaching more fun.
5. Empower your kids by appointing technical assistants
Technical support is your newest job requirement. Fixing your student’s technical issues can be time-consuming.
“My smartphone can’t upload my homework in this Google Classroom” is a prompt you might be hearing from time to time.
If you do the technical fixes on top of your daily schedule, you will soon feel exhausted.
Put your students in charge of technical issues and create a win-win solution to this dilemma.
A promotion interview between you and your student could flow like:
“Julia, I realized you always deliver your homework on time and never had any technical issues. I’m impressed. How do you do that?”
“I don’t know. I guess I’m good at using my smartphone.”
“Technical proficiency is a skill giving you multiple job opportunities in the future. Would you support me as a technical assistant? It’s a job of high responsibility as I’d rely on you to fix technical issues of other children.”
Some of my students even managed to record their screens. Julia shared a tutorial for the entire class. She learned autodidactically and strengthened the class community.
By transferring your responsibility for technical matters to your students, you create more space for other activities. Like self-care:
6. Take good care of your self-care
Eat and exercise. Get plenty of sleep. Treat yourself with self-care time. You are a role model for your students.
If you take good care of yourself, you can inspire students to take good care of them as well.
Your students can tell whether you are teaching from a position of exhaustion or satisfaction.
The better you take care of yourself, the better your interaction with your students. The more joyful your teaching — the more joyful your children’s learning.
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