Unpreparedness among teachers
Since time immemorial we as teachers have been accustomed to teach in a classroom. Classrooms have been our area of interacting with young minds. As teachers we had the liberty to use black/white board, promote hands on learning, and use as many resources available in the class. But, this sudden shift of teaching online and our unpreparedness has not only left us demotivated but, also feel disconnected with our students. Despite this, I’m so proud of you to not let your spirits die. I’m sure it’s flickering but, together we can turn this problem into an opportunity.
Let’s understand that now the role of teacher is not just about teaching. Instead, It’s time to fasten our belt and involve ourselves in learning new-age teaching strategies. Strategies that our degrees have neither taught us nor trained us for.
So, teachers are you struggling to engage your students during an online class? Are you feeling lost? Have you been trying to dig content on internet and find nothing worth trying? Honestly, I’m there with you and this blog has reached you timely.
- Let background do the talking
Pre-corona era we had the privilege of decorating our classroom and use it as a prop. Honestly, this sounds like an old story tale because at present we just have a tiny rectangular box. Now, just imagine that through this rectangular space students see our unmade bed or a bathroom door, or a refrigerator. Let me tell you that this doesn’t emulate a happy learning vibe. So, teachers let’s wear our creative hat, and redefine our teaching spaces. For creative ideas follow the links shared below.
Online classroom tour + background how to (+ a confession!) by Kritina Garcia: Kritina Garcia is the creator behind this insanely useful and relevant vlog. The video features strategies coming from a teacher and an educator herself. The video addresses questions like: Why teachers should include interesting background themes? How can teachers play with the background and use it as a tool to teach.
Cheap diy background for your online classroom by Erin Edutainment: This video’s goal is to provide an idea for a cheap diy to create an interesting background. Erin’s ideas are based on reforming boring and dull backgrounds for student’s benefits.
- LIGHTS, camera, action
You’re lucky if you have a source of natural light near your desk. But, most of us struggle to have proper lights near our working desks. Hence, here comes the use of lights or lamps that are available at our homes. If that is not suffice, then we can also make use of small ring lights that are easily available at amazon.
Which LIGHT is BEST for Your Classroom? Selfie/Duo Ring Light, Soft Box, and Ring Light Review: Brittany Filmer in the video explains what kinds of lights has she been using. Is it selfie ring light, soft boxes, diva ring light, led tube-lights or bulbs? She explains the pros and cons of each lighting ,as well as show us how they look like in her classroom.
6 Best Video Lighting Ideas for Online Class: Online teachers and video creators need excellent lighting for their videos. There are a lot of options when it comes to video lighting for an online class. The question is what do we specifically need and what can we ignore? That’s what this blog covers throwing some light on best video lighting ideas for online class.
Caroline Wise in the video discusses easy and effective ways to light her online classroom and YouTube studio. She has listed her favourite products, and she also explains how one can solve the issue of glares on shiny props or objects.
- Space is much bigger than we think
Yes, you heard it right. A laptop screen may appear too small but, if used efficiently we can make it bigger, and more effective. We all watch movies on our phones and laptops yet, actors’ feelings and emotions feel as relatable as on a theater screen. So, how does that happen? That’s because the actors speak and play a lot with the camera. Why not we also try doing the same, I know you’re wondering how?
Even in classroom we have played a lot with our expressions and gave a lot of importance to our body movements. Even though our body movement is restricted still our faces, gestures, hands will do the needful.
This technique is also known as Total Physical Response (TPR). TPR is effective to change the pace and energy level of the class. A simple gesture such as raising hands, showing a thumbs up help you engage with the students. For more clarity refer to the article shared below:
What Is TPR for Teaching English and How Can I Use It? Johanna Kawasaki in this article will help you explore the meaning and benefit of using TPR in your classrooms. This article has listed some principles of TPR and elaborate on the importance of actions over words.
- Set a routine
I’m sure setting a routine in home environment is challenging but planning a day always make our work easier. I know this may sound ideal but just by including these three things, I promise your day is sorted. Let’s see what are these three things:
Fill your yourself before the class: This is one thing we ignore and mess our entire day. Be kind to yourself, practice self -care, and feed yourself well before the class begin. This will help you to focus on students, and not bring your any food item to your class. Do not munch anything during the class and always have a bottle beside you. Teaching can never be about multitasking, as some teachers eat while teaching, some cook, some do the laundry, and some give instructions to their house helps. Please let’s get this right, teaching alone is a big task and moreover we are in charge of the young minds so why waste our energy on multitasking when we must only and only focus on our students.
Keep aside the tring tring: I know our entire world is on this tiny device but keeping it aside wouldn’t affect the world. It’s not necessary to switch it off but just keep it on silent mode Do not indulge yourself on Instagram and scroll reels while you’ve given an assignment to your students. Instead observe your students, remember we would instantly feel our student’s emotions during pre-corona era. This can still continue; have small and important talks with them. Give them virtual hugs, keep telling them that you’re proud of them in the way they are trying to be avid learners.
Set boundaries: Inform your family members about your class schedules. Oh, you may also choose to have a poster on your door saying class in progress or any suggestive poster, so that no one enters the room while you’re teaching. And yes, don’t even let your pet enter because you’ll always want to cuddle them. Have conversations and make sure you regularly have such conversations with your family.
- Practice Patience
This may seem as if I’m just giving you a lecture on spirituality. Well, it may interest some and it may also bore some of you. Trust me showing patience with students always help them cope better in class. Let’s empathize that even for our students this is new and we’ll surely loose them during our class. Keeping students engaged and expect them to be attentive throughout is insane. As our method of teaching is changing, we also need to change the method of assessing our students. Give students enough space to express their worries, disinterested attitude and talk to them. Communicate is the key to your worries. There are some other tips we need to take from teachers all over the world, sharing a video below and let’s be a learner before becoming a teacher.
25 Lessons Learned Teaching Online: Ashlee Espinosa elaborates on 25 lessons that she has learned from teaching online. Her aim is to discover new ways of teaching students online in any setting. She has talked about simple situations that usually annoy us during online class and how we can tackle those.
About the Author …
This post has been written by Rajit Arora. Rajit is an alumni of University of Delhi and specializes on child education.