So Now You Have To Teach Online…

So, now you have to teach online. 5 ways to be effective virtually--and the types of support vendors can offer.

Teachers across the nation are rolling up their sleeves and pushing forward.  Within days, educators have pushed out learning through various online platforms.  Some have the necessary skills while others are struggling to teach students in this new way. Regardless of your comfort level, there are 5 ways to be effective virtually and many vendors are stepping up to offer their services during the unprecedented time.

Start with a positive attitude! Then dive in...

Planning-  Depending on your district, teacher expectations may be different. A few meaningful assignments is better than a lot of smaller assignments that feel more like busy work. During your planning, use engaging resources. You don’t have to “reinvent the wheel”. There are many vendors offering free services. Be aware of promotion expiration dates and restrictions in the terms of use agreements. 

Scheduling- Set office hours and remember to take time for you! It can feel like you are working ALL day long.  Many educators are constantly checking emails or grading papers. This can be overwhelming. By setting office hours, you can be online to help students. Many vendors have products that offer the option to “schedule” assignments or emails. Take advantage of the “out of office” notice as well. 

Ask for Help-Look for help menus or tutorials available through tech support if you have questions about your platform or other online resources. On demand help is a game changer! Check vendor websites for help and contact information.

Work together- Build relationships with teachers, parents, and students. Again, depending on our district, you may be allowed to work as a PLC to develop lessons for your students.  Being able to work in collaboration allows everyone to be “on the same page” literally. Be aware of parents who are working full-time then become a substitute teacher for their child. Last but not least, your students need you!  Find resources that are FERPA compliant and allow video chatting. Students are missing the connection to their teachers.  Many vendors are making this easy to integrate in various platforms.

Feedback-Give timely feedback is vital to student success. Using their name in emails back is important. Many online platforms now offer integration with other programs and resources.

Going from the traditional classroom style teaching to online learning, takes time.  Which most teachers don’t have right now.  Thank you to those vendors that are helping us navigate these unchartered waters! 


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About the Author

Teresa Marchant a Teacher Librarian at Lockwood School in Billings, Montana. She has been an educator for 20 years and has served as the Professional Development Committee Chair in her school district and on the board for the Montana Library Association. Additionally, Teresa has been part of team responsible for writing state and local Library Information Literacy standards. She holds a Masters in Educational Technology with an emphasis in Online Instruction from Montana State University as well as a certificate in School Library Media from the University of Washington. She loves learning and enjoys helping others which makes her an awesome school librarian. 

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