“What online platform is best for students to navigate and collaborate seamlessly?”
“How are you designing work that doesn’t require students to be on screens?”
“Do students take advantage of optional extension opportunities?”
“How are you working to upskill your faculty asynchronously?”
“How can admin best support teacher wellness through this moment of crisis?”
David Hotler, a teacher at the American School of Madrid, addressed these questions and many others during a webinar last week, attended by more than 50 teachers and school leaders from across North America. (You can re-watch the webinar, hosted and moderated by Future Design School Director of Learning Sandra Nagy, via the link below.)
David and his colleagues in Spain were among the first wave of teachers in Europe to shift online in response to COVID-19. The insights he provided in the webinar were immensely helpful to educators at all stages of developing their virtual classrooms, parent/guardian communication plans, and remote learning strategies.
Here are three tips David shared for teachers and schools looking to start strong:
1. Think of this moment like it’s the start of a new school year.
“What do we do in those first weeks? We don't know any of the students who are about to walk through our door. They all get a clean slate, and we are so incredibly empathetic; we can't wait to learn everything about them. Recreate that right now.”
“Put your curriculum to the side for a minute and just get to know these kids as they exist right now, out of the classroom. Because their home life and school life have just smashed into each other — and your home life and work life have just smashed into each other — and we all need to just take a minute to get used to what that looks like and feels like, and we need to build the new norms and build the new patterns.”
2. Be wary of burnout and remote working guilt.
For students: “Don't assume that your students don't want to work, and don't want to get things done…. This is a marathon, not a sprint.”For educators: “We talked about it in a tech meeting today, and we're going to encourage teachers to set hard limits on when they stop…. Make yourself a healthy schedule, stick to it, and encourage your students to do the same thing — and even build it right into your classes.”
3. Make contact with every student, at least twice a week.
“If there were cracks before that students could fall through before, there are canyons that they can fall through now…. If you don't hear back, that is hearing back -- and it should be speaking to you very, very loudly that that student might be struggling, and they might be going through something that you cannot see.”
“I get goosebumps thinking about some of my old students...when they come to school, you're it: you might be the most positive person in their life. Don't stop being that.”
Watch the entire webinar here:
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Future Design School’s team of seasoned educators is here to help -- we can support your school to set up or scale a remote learning strategy that works for all students.We are here to help at this difficult time. Don’t hesitate to reach out at: