Everyone is excited about the potential to finally get rid of the outdated, inefficient, and expensive model of in-person schooling. Online learning can be done at any time for little or no cost—unless you count your laptop, tablet, or smartphone as a cost. And if you’re a teacher in online classes, you may wonder how you can connect with students in your course that are not sitting right next to you. Here are 8 Things Teachers Should Do to Connect Better in Online Classes
1. Get to Know Your Students
Before you even think about how you will connect with your online students, you need to get to know them. This isn’t simply taking roll and looking up names on the class roster.
You need to discover the unique struggles, successes, and challenges that make each student in your class unique. The only way you will be able to reach them is by getting to know them as people instead of just names on a piece of paper or entries in an online grade book.
The problem with online courses is that students are not right in front of you and you can’t see their body language or hear their tone of voice. Therefore, you must ensure your students know what is expected of them, how they will be graded, the format of homework assignments and tests, and any other information they need to succeed.
But perhaps most importantly, you want to share your expectations for students and get it on record that they understand what you are looking for.
3. Think of Your Online Class as an Extension of Your In-Person School
Everyone in your online classes is taking the course because they want to learn something or improve their performance. Think about what you are teaching and how it is connected to the real world and people’s everyday lives. Don’t just teach the material—teach it in a way that will make your students better at their jobs, more successful at school, and happier with themselves.
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4. Know When to Be a Parent and When to Be a Teacher!
Your relationship with your students needs to be both professional and personal. You are the teacher and students are in your class for their education and growth, but your relationship is also one of teachers and students since you are taking a personal interest in them.
5. Comment on Student Work and Interact with Students
As a teacher, you want to ensure students understand the material and get to where they need to be on the learning journey. One of the best ways to do this is by commenting on your students’ work—whether that may be a blog post, an article, or a video.
It is important to remember that you are interacting with people who are not in front of your face. Therefore, be respectful and professional (as you would in an in-person classroom). Always remember that positive feedback goes much further than criticism.
6. Be Willing to Be Creative During Online Classes
You don’t have the same resources you would have if every student in your class were sitting right in front of you. If someone posts a video, writes a paper, or draws an illustration on a blog post, do not be afraid to leave an appropriate and supportive comment. If the work is good, point it out! You can also go the extra mile and make your video about what you think about the subject at hand.
7. Stick With It
Teaching online students is tough in some ways and fun in others. At first, you may wonder how you will connect with students who are not sitting right next to you and if they will ever get it.
But things will settle down and you will learn what works and doesn’t. Of course, you will also make mistakes and some students may not understand or appreciate your efforts to connect with them. But stick with it—once you figure out how to connect with them, your online class and student experience will be much richer.
8. Make Connecting with Your Online Students a Priority
It won’t happen by accident if you want to connect with your online students. You need to show up and give the same energy and enthusiasm as you would if every student in the class were sitting in the same room. Make time to get to know them, share information, and show that you care about them. Your students will be thankful for the effort—and so will you!
As you can see, effective teachers are constantly striving to make learning more enjoyable and effective, and they have a specific set of habits that they employ to make learning more than just a rote experience.
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These habits aren’t difficult, but they do require effort on the teacher’s part, which is often discounted or ignored in the classroom. We often think of education in terms of a set curriculum: if the student fills in all of the right bubbles on their report card, they are getting an A. But this is only part of the equation.
If you are passionate about teaching and wish to expand your online coaching business, then Classplus is here to help. Get your own app and reach out to a larger number of students across the country. To know more, connect with us and talk to our experts now!