Adjusting to a new school is hard enough, but learning how to attend school either through a virtual or hybrid format can be difficult for some students. Since you can’t physically be there to help them with the transition, it’s important to create a stable and easy-to-understand hybrid or virtual classroom. Here are eight ways that you can provide extra support to your students:
Create and Maintain a Throughout Virtual Classroom Routine
As a teacher, you will be an active part of the online school community. To make the transition easier from a physical to a virtual classroom easier, organize your classroom routine. This can be done with an online school agenda that your school can implement into its system. You can track assignments, class schedules, and display additional materials for students to utilize.
The benefit of a virtual classroom is giving students the option to work on assignments/classwork in their own time. Create time within your allotted class schedule for students to work on their own, or with others on classwork.
For class calls, create guidelines they should follow. Once they join a call, do you want them muted, video on/off, and how they can get your attention if someone has a question? With so many students, raising their hands on video probably won’t work, but you could have them leave a message in the chat as an alternative. Set all of these guidelines in advance and provide it to them before or during your first class.
Make Online School Collaborative and Structured
Something that is missing from an online school is the structure and collaboration of a physical classroom. It’s great that students can now complete assignments on their own time, but some can fall behind without the structure of having to physically attend a class. Along with normal class times, encourage your students to create study groups where they can work together on assignments and keep each other accountable for keeping up with work.
If the system your school uses has one, try creating questions for students to engage with each other on a virtual forum. This will help replicate the in-class discussion students would normally have. It’s difficult to have group conversations on video calls, so this is a good virtual alternative. If you don’t have a forum try starting this through email or check out some of these discussion tools.
Virtual Office Hours/Emails
It’s normal for students to have questions about assignments, tests, or content in general. In order to make up for the lost physical office hours, implement drop-in or scheduled virtual office hours. Either provide a video call link where students can stop by between certain hours, or have them schedule it with you in advance through email. If a student is lost on the material you are teaching, it’s important to help them understand, so they don’t fall behind.
If students have questions outside of office hours, invite them to send an email instead. Sometimes it can be difficult to have a question answered via email if it’s too complicated. It is important to set boundaries of when you are available for help, so this is an option that allows them to ask questions, and you can respond whenever works best for you.
Motivate Your Students
It can be difficult to find the motivation to do work when everything is online. To motivate your students, set firm deadlines for assignments so that they don’t fall behind on work. On the opposite end, create fun rewards for students completing their work. After a test or everyone turns in an assignment, play a fun video or group game. It’s important to mix positive and negative reinforcement so that students are happy and engaged, not stressed and anxious.
Virtual or hybrid schooling is a win-win situation. It allows students more freedom. It is much easier to teach online than in a traditional classroom if you can adjust to the format. It’s important for this reason to stay organized as teachers, and create a structured environment for the students. There are many virtual tools that can help with this, but part of the solution is to put systems into place that make the process easier.