Managing a classroom alone can cause great strain to the mind. Now with the rise of online tuitions, especially due to the pandemic, virtual classrooms have become a teacher’s struggle. Strong lack of non-verbal communication and close to nothing other than one’s voice to keep the attention of a number of students, virtual classrooms have proven to be very taxing. Teaching us what a fish market can truly- virtually- look like.
So, to rid you of your pain here are some tips to get you started into your journey of teaching in virtual classrooms.
- Set clear rules and discuss them
You can’t expect the same rules to apply to virtual classrooms and regular ones. Thus, come up with a new set of rules and expectations you have from your students. Jot down the list and in your very first class, discuss them with your students. Let them know what behaviour will be tolerated and give them a week’s time to adjust to these changes, firmly reminding them at regular intervals to maintain discipline. Establishing and enforcing rules from the very start among the students is a great way to begin managing virtual classrooms.
- Introduce them to the platform well
Not all students are tech-savvy and despite what media makes us believe young people aren’t always drowning in social media use. So when starting off your virtual classroom ensure you choose a platform which you are well-acquainted with. Understand the platform well and reserve the first few classes to get the students acquainted to the platform as well. Teaching them how the platform you have chosen works, in the beginning, will ensure that your virtual classes continue without a glitch.
- Establish routine
After letting students know your expectations it’s important to meet theirs. Begin this with establishing a routine. Discuss convenient times with all your students and stick to the routine. Let them know what to expect and follow through with it. The way to maintaining an ounce of the discipline of schools is by providing the same stability.
- No distractions
Having gotten your class together and prepared to make sure that nothing hinders its progress. Make you students aware to eliminate as many distractions as possible and do the same for yourself. Maybe you could begin with having ‘no pets/ toddler siblings in the room policy’ and obviously a strict rule for phones to be switched off.
- Record and save all classes in shared space
This advice is especially effective for larger classrooms. The time availability may not always align for the students and when it does, it is likely that a number of other factors interrupt the class for individual students. Also considering it is hard to say which students are paying attention in a virtual classroom, your best bet would be to make sure each class is recorded. There’s a number of platforms that allow you to do this and with a little research, you will be able to navigate easily. Record the classes and keep them available in a shared platform with all your students so they can avail each of the classes if they miss any or feel more attentive.
I’ll leave you with these tips to get you started. Crossed fingers and warm water (for all the yelling you might have to do!) may help. All the best!