The spread of COVID-19 has given educators an opportunity to take a "crash-course" in online instruction, transformed homes into remote learning spaces, parents into homeschool managers, and students into online learners. The ability of all parties to pivot has been remarkable.
S2TEM Centers SC has begun a weekly Virtual Teacher Chat to assist educators in making this transition and support instruction. Every Wednesday, we invite educators to come "chat" about their successes, struggles, and support each other. Recently, we invited middle and high school students to join the conversation to discuss what was working for them, their challenges, and advice to teachers.
Following is their advice to teachers:
Allow us the flexibility to complete assignments based on what works best for us and our family and life situations. Some of us work better in the mornings, some better in the evenings. Some of us have limited access to devices and the internet. Give us some freedom to choose when to complete our work. You'll get better results.
Communication is key.
We need you to be clear and communicate with us often. Be specific on what you need from us and when. We are easy to reach if you know where to find us (i.e., on our phones). Use apps like Remind 101 to send us texts and let us know when we can reach you and how. You're more likely to receive our work as needed and on-time if we can communicate effectively.
We miss not being together in a classroom to ask questions or to ask for help when we are "stuck". We still need your help to explain concepts and your assurance that we understand the material assigned. Knowing you are here for us and care is the reassurance we need to establish a "new normal".
We are juggling up to 6 different classes, sometimes moving between different platforms to get assignments and using a variety of applications and online tools. Use Google Classroom or MS Teams to put everything in one place, so it's easy for us to know what you need us to do, and when. And please, keep it updated. It shouldn't take us longer to find an assignment than it takes to complete it. When you're organized, it helps us to stay organized.
We do understand it's easier for us kids because we grew up with technology. We'll try to be patient with you.
Show me how to engage in my learning from home. We miss being interactive and working hands-on alongside our classmates, help us by setting up a system by which we can communicate with our classmates, and experience learning beyond completing a worksheet. Labs and activities helped me understand because we could see a concept and talk with our classmates about it. We need your help in learning how to do this remotely.
When we can engage in meaningful learning, we understand the material much better.
Most importantly, we learned that students want to learn, and they want their teachers to teach. Working together, we can get through this and be better teachers, students, and parents.
We invite you to join us on Wednesday at 11:30 am or 4:00 pm for our 30-Minute Virtual Chats. Visit our webpage for more information and to register for sessions.