Advice for Teachers and As Their Schools Move to Teaching Online

Administrators and students need your support. Administrators can design online programs and students can participate in them, but just as the same as every day teaching, what the students learn and how well this will work will depend on you. You chose teaching as a profession because you want to help students and now they need your help more than ever. There are no simple answers. You will get frustrated with administrators who design systems that will not work for you, but this is all new to most of them as well. Even administrators who have degrees and experience in the field do not have experience deploying it in a crisis and on such a massive scale. Everyone must remain positive. There will be many points of frustration — Administrator-teacher, parent-teacher, student-teacher — but realize that you are the glue/intermediary in all of those situations. It does depend on you. Familiarize yourself with technology.  You may be concerned that you do not have familiarity with technology or the technology platform that your school is using, but you can do this. All of these systems are similar, use very basic internet and web browsing technology, and are made for simple use. Once you get started, things will be fine. Don’t worry about the details. Unless the technology is inoperable, figure out a solution to your problem. Everyone will be doing that and no one is more capable of coming up with a solution to your problem than you are. Classes will be less interactive. American education is very hands-on and interactive. You will not be able to teach this way online until virtual reality platforms become economical, so your instructional approach will need to be more traditional. These approaches can work and have worked in other countries, but you need to be realistic about transitioning to this teaching model. Your students won’t change. Your ambitious class leaders will still be your ambitious class leaders and may even thrive in this environment, but your students who need constant follow-up and attention are still going to need it. If your school retains class sizes of 25+ these issues will present challenges and that is a reality. Require students to keep their video on.  Many students will want to keep their cameras off for many different reasons (some good, some bad), but the only way to effectively teach online is through video interaction with your students.