Recently in The 74, Nat Damon, a 25-year educator and author of Time to Teach: Time to Reach reflected on how to put the nuance into virtual teaching. Excerpts of the piece appear below:
Remote teaching does not feel like teaching.
This is not the same as saying remote teaching is not teaching. It absolutely is. But something is distinctly lacking in remote teaching. That something is nuance.
Teachers might design incredible Google slides, create endless interactive projects and podcast the classroom’s own Lincoln/Douglas debate for the world to hear. But without In Real Life teaching, the relational magic can be compromised. Here are some simple tips for virtually replicating that nuance:
- Arrive 10 to 15 minutes early to your online class and use that time to meet 1:1 with students. Once students know that you’re regularly in the classroom, those with questions will arrive early, hoping to be let in before class.
- Open breakout rooms to one person in each so you can float in and out and have 1:1 discussions. This allows for strategic connection time with specific students.
- Allow for a “Video Off Day,” so students can learn without the added stress of seeing themselves in a square all the time.
- Hold open office hours during lunch. Even if it’s just once every two weeks, this allows for small groups to visit and unwrap their burrito foil together.
- Be the last to leave the classroom to allow for stragglers to initiate conversation. Encourage waving goodbye at the end of every class and wait to “leave meeting” until the very last student has exited.
- Use the chat function. Chat is an incredible tool, when used wisely.