Though many teachers were familiar with online classes before the pandemic, it was the first experience for me. For the last 15 years, I have been a high-school teacher, and so teaching was like second nature. However, Zooming was a new world for me altogether.
Zoom’s YouTube channel was like a lifeline for me, and I pursued it relentlessly until I learned my way around Zoom. However, some things are only learned after experiencing them; I also came across a few things in my online classes. It took a month for me to get used to, and then Zoom classes became even more interesting.
I love to share my experiences with others. So, today I will be sharing my experience with remote teaching lessons. The intent is to help teachers who are still not experiencing online classes. Since the second COVID wave can hit us anytime, teaches should gear up with all tactics of online learning.
So, read below:
Remote Learning is Too Personal
Unlike the traditional classes in which every student is seated in the same class, remote learning is different. I have seen some students on their bed, jogging in parks, driving, munching in the backyard, sitting in living rooms, etc. So, you need to interact accordingly. You cannot teach it formally.
For instance, if someone is sitting in the garden, a few lines about the beautiful flowers can be a good conversation starter. Whereas in a physical class, teachers use a single tactic to start an interaction with the whole class. Like discussing the latest news, cracking a joke, or sharing something informative.
During my second zoom class, my pet cat passed by the laptop screen several times. I noticed that my students found the cat cute and were interested in knowing about her. So, I shared further details about her. In the same way, I had to conduct my online class from my living room one day. Since I was having an internet connectivity issue, I had no other choice. So, I had to tell my students about the room where I was sitting. Within 30 days, my students and I got to know more about each other than ever before.
Inviting Guests and Taking Professional Assistance is Helpful
Sitting in front of your laptop for straight 5 hours is a tough job. I had a back problem, and my shoulder started hurting after 10 days. However, I managed to put my leg on an ottoman and bought backrest support. Looking at my condition, students had stopped taking an interest. Then I came up with an idea of inviting guests. This strategy gave me a two-fold benefit. Sharing my work stress and creating interest in online learning.
Since students were locked down at home with no theater, amusements, meetups, etc., they were very frustrated. Online interaction with guests provided a nice change of pace. I was teaching psychology, so I contacted some famous psychiatrists via Twitter. I was happy to have so many options on my guest list, as contacting people for online sessions is easier than physical ones. All my students loved the idea, and their interest increased as well.
One student having a baby of 3 months insisted on continuing online classes even after the pandemic. Another student was more involved in class discussions; on inquiry, I found out that he travels to class from a long distance and is exhausted by the team he reaches. Online classes have saved him the time and energy of commute, so he is more present during the class.
After a month, I realized the benefits of remote learning. Instead of just focusing on its drawbacks, I started feeling grateful for the following reasons:
- Interacting with high-profile guests with ease, which is otherwise difficult
- Job safety as lectures and course material is given besides maintaining social distancing.
- Easy access for physically distant, disable, or international students and those with childcare limitations.
Additionally, taking help from professionals in other fields helped me a lot. Since I am from a teaching background and not a tech-savvy person, I contacted an online technology professional. In this way, I got enough assistance in dealing with multimedia, sharing TV clips, using collaborative software, etc. I contacted a helpful mobile app development Company, and they were happy to guide me.
Flexible Routine is Essential
Before remote teaching, I never compromised my routine. My schedule was fixed, and I never worked after 5 p.m. However, I noticed that many students were perplexed. I was not getting assignments on time, and surprise quizzes were not giving satisfactory results. So, I decided to compromise on my rules for a few days. I started answering queries even at 2 a.m., had long calls with students explaining the trickier parts of lectures, and even gave my address to a student who has joined the institute recently. After some days, I noticed a positive change in my class. All students came on the same level, concepts were clear, and they finally embraced remote learning.
Giving Back to The World is Vital
When I got perfection in remote teaching and students were highly-engaged, I had enough room to increase the class-strength. In comparison to physical classes, where my class strength was limited to just 20 students, I got an opportunity to double it. However, when the world has provided me a great opportunity, it’s time to do something in return. I thought about students who lost their jobs and those facing a tough financial crisis due to pandemic. So, I announced scholarships and raised funds for the additional students.
In short, remote learning taught me several new ways of teaching, which I would otherwise have never learned. I have experienced that external factors have zero impact on learning. It’s all about adjustments. With immense dedication, compromise, and courage, we can open new doors to learning from our small screens. After resuming my on-site classes, I am planning to continue with remote teaching too. In this way, I can successfully remove restrictive learning boundaries for students across the globe.