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Teaching Children during the COVID-19 Pandemic
7 Tips for Teachers
In years to come, when your students tell others about their schooling during the COVID-19 pandemic, what do you want them to remember about your teaching methods?
Surely, you want them to remember that they had a teacher who cared about what they were going through, who assigned material that mattered, and who helped them maintain some sense of normalcy while the rest of the world was falling apart.
But this is all easier said than done.
Teaching during a pandemic is a new challenge for most educators and we're all still figuring out a rhythm that works.
For most countries, the 2019-2020 school year is going to be finished via online classes - and since there are so many unknowns when it comes to the virus itself and the social distancing it is creating, there's a possibility that when classes start again in September, those will be online, too.
Don't let the stress of the coronavirus pandemic dampen your love for teaching. Here are 7 tips for teaching online during COVID-19.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Teaching students online wasn't what you signed up for when you became an educator. Nevertheless, this is a role you must fulfill until social distancing becomes a thing of the past.
You shouldn't expect perfection from yourself or your students during the first few months of online learning.
What you should be doing is practicing like there's no tomorrow.
Practice making videos for your classes
Practice different lighting and sound setups so your students can get the most out of your videos
Practice making answering student e-mails a regular part of your day
Practice having online hours to speak with your students
Practice making a new curriculum that will teach your students what they need to know amidst the crisis the world is facing
Practice using apps and teaching your students how to use the technology they will need to continue getting an education amidst the pandemic
Communicate with Your Students
When it comes to teaching and communicating with students online, it's okay to address the elephant in the room.
Coronavirus is an anxiety-inducing topic for most people and it's probably weighing on the minds of your students. Talk about it. Get it out in the open and use it as an opportunity to comfort and refocus your students.
Remind your students that it's good to be informed about world events, but that fixating on news articles about COVID-19 can do more harm than good.
Suggest only reading articles about the virus once a day and only from credible sources like the World Health Organization. This will help prevent the spread of misinformation and reduce stress.
Even after going through months of the pandemic, students still have a lot of questions about how online classes stack up to their in-person counterparts.
Communication is key when it comes to teaching students online.
As teachers continue to transition to online classes, students are going to have a boatload of questions to ask.
- What's changed in our class?
- What's due and when?
- Is there any make-up work I can do to help boost my grade?
- How can I cope with depression while trying to get my schoolwork done?
- What classes will be live and what won't?
- How are exams going to work during the pandemic?
- Does our syllabus still apply?
Sending out a weekly e-mail detailing new videos, readings, and assignments for the coming weeks can also be incredibly helpful for keeping students organized.
Having online office hours will also be a game-changer for both teachers and students during the coronavirus pandemic.
Create a Sense of Community
What does a community have to do with teaching online? A lot
Your students are used to being in a community atmosphere when they are in class. They are used to seeing their friends and having assignments with other students. The sudden shift to social isolation can leave your students feeling downcast, which can distract from learning.
Anna Lee, an online tutor working at SmileTutor, equips “I always build a sense of community amongst my students by creating a WhatsApp group chat with the entire class and encouraging them to exchange phone numbers and stay in touch.”
Make a Routine
Children thrive when they have consistency and routine in their lives - and that includes their online classes. Once you make a class schedule, do not deviate from it.
Assign Work That Matters
With many students experience stress and anxiety over their futures, teaching online during COVID-19 not the time to assign your students with busywork.
You want to provide accurate, helpful, and engaging material. You can do this by:
Assigning stimulating or creatively challenging homework
Having regular live-chats or video tutorials to ensure your students are grasping the work assigned
Being funny and engaging as you teach
Breaking learning up into smaller sessions that are easily digested by anxious students
It can also be helpful to acknowledge a student's work, commenting on what they did right and what they can improve at. Knowing that a student has your attention and is being assigned goals will help keep them motivated.
We may not know what the future holds, but it's important to be optimistic, especially when it comes to teaching our students.
Using phrases like, "When we're back in class together next year" and addressing the future with positivity can boost student morale and keep their spirits up.
The happier your students are, the harder they will work in class.
Don't let the chaos of this pandemic ruin your love for teaching or your student's love for learning. You can find ways to be an effective, attentive teacher amidst the madness happening around the world. Teachers can help kids in the age of coronavirus by being available, communicative, and by supplying an education that matters.
About the Author
Monica a self-driven person and loves to spend her leisure time reading interesting books that come her way. She is passionate about writing and collecting new books. She believes in hard work and it is her persistence that keeps her doing better. She is a perfectionist and doesn’t let go off things that don’t appear perfect to her. She loves traveling whenever she needs time off of her busy schedule. Her favorite holiday destination is Hawaii.