As many of us head into a school year filled with many unknowns, it might feel like there’s nothing you can be doing to get ready. While we don’t know exactly what things will look like, we do know one thing: we are going to be teaching kids!
This is what we do and I know that no matter how overwhelming it may feel, you’ve got this! You do know that teaching is your superpower, right?
The biggest mistake that teachers are making right now is waiting to have ALL of the answers before they get started.
12 Things You Should Do TODAY to Prepare for Your Virtual Classroom
Hard truth: we are NOT going to have all the answers tomorrow, the day after or very possibly on the first day of school. So instead of waiting, here are 12 things you can do to prepare for your virtual classroom and the upcoming school year!
- Get your classroom management system set up as if you were going back to school in person: It is much easier to change and adapt something than to try and start from scratch.
- Set up your daily schedule as if you were going back to the classroom and THEN adjust it for your virtual day.
- Consider what computer platform you will be using and take the time to get comfortable with it. Trust me, I am not tech savvy and I never will be but the more you practice and get familiar with the platform, the less stress you will experience!
- Determine what your communication with parents will look like and start to develop your systems to maintain it. Again, this should start with what your in-person teaching plan for parent communication and then be adapted for a virtual plan. It’s critical that you communicate this plan with parents from the beginning. Because, in some ways, you will be “in their home”, so your boundaries need to be clear!
- Figure out any issues you have to deal with on the personal front so that you are able to teach. Many schools were only providing emergency school in the Spring but the expectation this coming year will be that you are able to meet the expectations of being a teacher in your district.
- Think outside the box. All content areas will need to be covered, but obviously in a different way. Start researching different ways to present and connect with students.
- Be ready for your students behavioral needs. Obviously, it will look different but you will still need to have a plan. Remember, make your in-person teaching plan FIRST and then adapt it to your virtual classroom.
- Prepare for what your social-emotional support will look like. You can expect students to be dealing with a lot of feelings (anger, fear, disappointment) so have a plan to address these needs head on.
- Set up a plan to take care of yourself. Think about setting aside a work area that is ONLY for work. Having a schedule in place that allows for frequent movement, eating and drinking will help you do so.
- Have some fun!! Recess, dance, P.E., etc….
- Be thinking about students who need additional support with the limitations you have.
- Set up a reinforcement system as you would for your classroom and then adapt to virtual classroom.
Of course, it’s important to recognize that preparation isn’t the end all. There will be adjustments to be made along the way, but if you have a good plan in place to start, you’ll be a lot further along than you would have been otherwise.
Need help implementing these plans? Consider joining my Facebook group for teachers. You’ll receive tips and strategies to help you level up your teaching AND be able to engage with like-minded teachers at the same time.