Teachers everywhere are transitioning to distance learning due to the Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic. Many teachers started last week and many teachers are just coming off spring break and starting very soon. We asked teachers in the Simply Kinder Teacher Facebook group (here) for distance learning tips for teachers and this is what they said.
- Ms. O’Neil says, “Have patience and grace with your parents as they learn the ins and outs of all this too. Be flexible with your expectations especially week one. They’re learning it all just as we are.”
- Ms. New says, “Communicate DAILY to the parents what is expected. Even if you have already given a weekly schedule…still say good morning today your child will be …. I have found it makes things clear, so they don’t have to search for the info.”
- Ms. Frost says, “My advice is to stay in touch with your students it will help them and you. I use Zoom video conferencing. Currently we check in twice a week and my students love it. I even invited other staff to join, so last time my principal and the OT joined so they could see other staff.“
- Ms. Lunzer says, “Make sure you set a work schedule. Starting up it is overwhelming the amount of social media you are interacting with daily. 8-4 work days. After that comments will be answered the next day.”
- Ms. Kelly says, “Don’t overwhelm your parents! Tell them to play and read and grow closer during this time. Do things in the kitchen (math) and play board games (turn taking). And, get used to seeing yourself on video LOL! That’s the hardest part for me hehe!”
- Ms. Horn says, “My whole school is scaling back the amount of work. When I was designing everything, I worried it wouldn’t be enough and I thought what I did have was really easy! We’ve heard nothing but appreciation from the parents but also a BIG sense of feeling overwhelmed.”
- Ms. Pandur says, “Plan your times. It can be overwhelming being tied to a device. I set aside an hour in the morning, an hour mid day and an hour in the late evening (some parents are still working and their kids don’t do assignments till 7 or 8). Most importantly: just breathe. This is new to everyone and trust me, no one is getting a star fir being the best online teacher. Family first, then online.”
- Ms. Martin says, “Relax. It’s a learning expense for all of us. Have patience and don’t expect a lot. Meaning don’t expect that they’ll turn everything in. Be ready for tons of emails and questions. Be gentle with yourself and the parents; don’t get frustrated. Have the kids be kids and let them play and spend time with their families it’s hard on them too.”
- Ms. Kutt says, “Stop thinking what if. Take one day at a time. I made Google docs of resources and links that I use all the time. I just shared with viewing rights with parents. Also, stay in touch in whatever way that may be. I am using our Dojo Class Story, but others in my building are doing calls and videos. Just do what works best for you.“
- Ms. Bender says, “I tell mine everyday—Make it work for your family. There’s no wrong way to do this! I send an encouraging quote everyday that I find online. I hated videoing myself, but the kids loved it and parents responded.”
- Ms. Souza says, “Be patient with parents. They are learning along with us. I make sure to assure them I am trying to SUPPORT not add more stress to their lives. Also, however you feel about videoing yourself, sending messages or those things, the kids want to see YOU. Us. They don’t care if we feel confident and they will love it!”
- Ms. Angel says, “We just finished our first week and zoom, seesaw, and starting a blog were the best things I did this week. I keep their daily activities on the blog and update each day. I record a good morning message and post it to the blog. I also record a daily read aloud with zoom and upload that to the blog. When the blog is ready I message parents on my class app (classtag) to let them know it is up to date. I give the option for students to upload a video to seesaw to answer the question of the day. Parents can email me or message me for questions. We also held our first “class meeting” today on zoom and it went really well. Only 8 out of 20 showed up but it was the perfect amount.
- Ms. Dactyl says, “Make yourself super available the first few days. I knew there would be a ton of questions (even though most of them were spelled out clearly in the info we sent home) and bumps as we learned to navigate new things. I just kept my phone close and responded ASAP. I won’t do that forever, but it really helped the first few days. Also, if you need are going to use new tech/app/website, see if you can get a few students/parents to test it for you first. They can help you troubleshoot so that it goes more smoothly when you roll it out to everyone.
- Ms. Trevorrow says, “Don’t go overboard! Parents may have several children to work with and may still be going work themselves. Send videos to your kids. I do a video check in every couple of days and they send one back usually.”
- Ms. Sutton says, “I put all the videos for the week in an email so they only had to click. Some parents didn’t know where to go. Overall it’s amazing!!! My parents loved how organized it is.”
- Ms. Weick says, “I have weekly plans with videos/links but a parent asked for a quick video each day to just say hi and give a few highlights of what I want from them. Helps the parents bc it’s coming from me. It’s usually less than 2 minutes. I make it the night before and send in an email that I schedule to be sent the next am. Going well so far.”
And remember we have our Send Home Sub Plans to help you with your distance learning. They are editable so you can customize them and we give you special permission to send them digitally. You can get them on Simply Kinder here or on TpT here.