Is everyone about to pull their hair out with this whole remote learning thing, or is it just me? You are? That’s what I thought. My district didn’t start any real remote learning until about two weeks ago. When they first unveiled out the new remote learning strategy, I was like, “wait a minute. We’ve been out of school since mid-March, and NOW you want us to start remote learning?” Don’t get me wrong, we had other responsibilities, but they didn’t have much to do with teaching students. Then, two weeks ago, BAM some new and intense requirements for remote learning. Now I need to figure out strategies for surviving remote learning for the rest of the year.
At first, I was utterly overwhelmed. It seemed to me that the district was asking way too much from us, especially since we are not allowed to grade the work the students turn in. So what’s the point? We get out of school before Memorial Day. After the initial shock wore off, I realized that this is practice. There is a good chance that we will not be going to back to school in the fall, (Haha, the fall. That’s the New Englander in me, we go back to school in August in TN) so we need a game-plan for how we’re going to educate our students if that happens. As the weeks have progressed, I’ve missed teaching in my classroom so much. There is NOTHING like person-to-person interaction at school. I know a lot of people are advocates for online learning, but I would have to leave the profession if this is how schools will operate in the future. Despite all of this, I have found some ways to survive remote learning the best I can.
Tip #1: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
This is hard to do, even in a traditional school setting, but I think it’s imperative to surviving remote learning. You’ve got to be able to let things roll off your back. Your students aren’t responding to your emails or phone calls? Don’t sweat it. Contact who you need to about it and move on. Not in love with your lessons? Who is? Most of us didn’t go into teaching to be a “poster of lesson plans.” Do the best you can. Find engaging video clips, readings, and projects and assign them to the kids. I simply create a unit for the week with specific essential questions and post material that will help students answer those questions.
Tip #2: Do what you’re asked to do and nothing more
I know people will probably come for me on this, but do what you’re asked to do and nothing else. Typically, I go above and beyond pretty regularly, but in this circumstance, I’ve found that it causes more stress than it usually would. My whole goal is to limit the amount of extra stress in my life right now. It’s not good for me, and it’s not suitable for my students. I make sure my lessons are posted, I contact my students several times a week, and I’m on the conference calls I need to me on. THAT’S IT.
Tip #3: Give Yourself Grace
Finally, give yourself grace. No one is doing this perfectly. Most people hate remote learning. Give yourself a big pat on the back for showing up and making a difference. Yes, you will make mistakes. No, the students most likely aren’t learning as much as they would in your classroom, but it is what it is. Take a deep breath. The school year is almost over!
One last suggestion. Focus on your routine and practice some SEL for yourself. (Yes, SEL practices can be useful for adults too!).
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What are you doing to help you survive remote learning? Leave a comment below!