Top 10 Teachers tips

Work backward from the context of remote teaching

Synchronous, ‘live’ teaching online to a group of children is very different than doing the same in-person–and neither are easy. When you plan backward from the context and characteristics of remote teaching and learning–where distractions are uncontrollable, bandwidth matters, and students are not with their friends but rather their family–the lesson or activity has a better chance to work. Think small, bite-sized learning activities with clear objectives and intentional transitions–all while planning for and necessitating student engagement and autonomy. Actually, that’s not as different from ‘good teaching’ in-person as it seems.

Try a math filler.

Try one of these quick popsicle-stick math time fillers from Journey of a Substitute Teacher.

Set Up An Adequate Working Environment

Working remotely (in general) is the next challenge. Without the perfect environment and a good amount of self-discipline, stay-at-home-job can become a nightmare. With a little planning, this can be avoided. Firstly, set up a workspace. If possible, this space should be intended for work only. You want this space to be friendly and inviting, but also encourage productive work behavior. Keep your work environment free of distractions like television, other family members, or household chores. Natural lighting and an ergonomic chair can go a long way in setting up your ideal work environment.

Use music for everything.

“Music is needed and is a good way to transition. Find a welcome song and an afternoon song (can be the same tune with different words) to start and close your day. It makes a world of difference.” —Anne H.

Don’t shy away from science.

Students start learning science basics from the first day of school. Check out this geography lesson for one way to teach Pre-K kids about land, water, and air.

Listen to a read-aloud.

These days, you’ll find the biggest selection of read-alouds on YouTube. We’ve gathered our favorites here.

Incentivize the students.

“When I sub, I usually do a Madlib or two as an incentive to get the room ready at the end of the day. You can find free ones online. Madlibs go a long way and are a great tension or ice breaker. It only takes about 5 minutes, and the kids get super into it!” —Madison T.

Meet for briefer periods more frequently

This may not be possible. If you can only meet once a week and that’s it, then once a week it is. But whenever possible, ‘chunk’ learning–three times a week for 20 minutes or twice for 30 versus once for an hour. How effective this is depends on what you teach and the age of the students you’re teaching it to.

Internet Speed Check

I’m in several different VIPKID Facebook groups and internet speed seems to be the hot topic 99% of the time. I understand it can be a bit confusing, especially for new teachers. So that’s why I hope this bit of “insider” VIPKID information helps those who are wondering about internet stability. There is a definite way to check your internet speed and that is through the VIPKID app on your phone or tablet. Find it by going to the “Account” tab on the bottom menu. Once you are here, you’ll see a small hexagon in the top right-hand corner (it looks like a nut or bolt); this is your settings menu. Choose the settings menu and click on “Network Diagnostics”. The VIPKID app will automatically begin testing your internet speed and stability. If your connection is suitable for teaching, it will say “your internet connection seems okay”. If it’s not suitable for teaching, it will say “your internet connection is unstable”.

Innovate And Stimulate Discussions

Online classrooms, as mentioned before, run differently than traditional classrooms. These classrooms have the potential to feel cold mechanical. Initiating and encouraging discussions can go a long way in terms of how your students feel in class. Encourage participation, much like you would in class. There are a variety of ways you can encourage participation from discussions to posting lectures, to assigning reading material, to monitoring progress. You want your students involved on a weekly basis as opposed to just turning in assignments. Student involvement (planned, in-depth discussions, for example) gets your students working with the material in ways that they may not do on their own. This leads your students to get more out of your class - more than just a grade.