Every year when August hits, thousands of teachers gear up to start a new school year. Teachers come back refreshed and ready to change the world one student at a time. Unfortunately, it is easy to become overwhelmed, especially if online teaching is new to you. Below are five tips to help not only new but returning online teachers:
1. Stay organized. Teaching in any school requires that you stay organized, but especially teaching online. Everything you could possibly need will be kept on your laptop so it is very important that you utilize your resources to keep things tidy. I am a big proponent of OneNote. By using OneNote I am able to make multiple notebooks and tabs so that I can easily grab items that I need.
2. Have a daily checklist or to-do list that you can quickly and easily reference throughout the day. Just like we encourage our students to make a checklist for their homework, create a daily to-do with all of your tasks for the day. I include everything from reminders for certain phone calls and class times to grading.
3. Don’t forget to check out the K12 training website, where you can find helpful QRGs (quick reference guides) and trainings on all the platforms and systems you will be working with. These trainings are consistently updated and new ones are regularly added.
4. Reach out to other teachers at your school because they can be your greatest resource. We have all been there, and we know what it is like to be a brand new teacher. The first few weeks can be overwhelming, so do not be afraid to reach out to your coworkers if you are stuck on something. I have been teaching online for years, but I am still amazed at what I can learn from my fellow teachers. Little tips here and there can save you so much time in the long run.
5. And most importantly, remember to take care of you. It is easy the first few weeks to feel like you are tied to your computer around the clock, so make sure you are taking little breaks to stretch your legs or stepping away to have a snack. You may even find it helpful to set an alarm to remind you to close your computer once the work day is done. It is always so tempting to answer one last email or grade one last assignment, and then those single tasks snowball into five or 10 more.
With these tips in mind, I hope everyone has a fantastic 2017-18 school year!