An advanced (at the time of writing) happy world teacher’s day to all of you teachers! I know that it’s difficult to celebrate this event right now, especially as face-to-face classes continue to be limited. Despite these challenges, the pandemic has also opened an alternative for teachers so they can continue teaching. This alternative, of course, is the online teaching job.
I’m sure that some of you find becoming a home-based online teacher to be a mixed blessing. Yes, you don’t have to travel far for work anymore, and you can continue working while remaining safe from the pandemic. An online classroom also allows you to teach students from other countries without going abroad.
But an online classroom is an entirely different environment compared to a traditional classroom. One of the main challenges for new online teachers is managing an online classroom. Here, you have to deal with Philippine internet and keeping your students’ attention to your lessons.
With this in mind, and because it’s World Teacher’s Day, here are some tips for classroom management in the online environment that you can do. Adjusting to this new environment may be challenging, but it’s not impossible. You just need a review of your old classroom management notes and adapt them to an online classroom.
Prepare Everything you’ll Need Before Class Starts.
Just like in a regular classroom, preparation is key to having a successful learning experience in an online teaching job. You can’t manage your class while finding today’s lesson now, can you? Not only will you waste your students’ time, but you also make them less inclined to listen to you. Who would want to listen to an unprepared teacher, right?
So, how do you prepare for an online class? Let’s start with your teaching materials. Before going to bed the night before, ensure that your Powerpoint presentation and other supplementary teaching materials are ready. If you have physical notes, have them on or near your table, so you don’t need to stand to get them.
Next, prepare yourself for your lesson. Get a good night’s sleep the night before so you’ll feel refreshed and ready for tomorrow’s lesson. Don’t forget to look presentable to your students when you turn on your camera. Your appearance will show whether or not you’re prepared to give the lesson or someone who hasn’t seen sunlight for the past two weeks.
Once you’re ready to start, there is one last thing that you need to do. Before starting your online class, check all your apps, such as zoom and google meet, and see if they’re working. Again, this saves you time and allows you to focus on your lesson and maintaining order within your online classroom.
Check your Internet Connection Before Class
After spending so much effort preparing your class, the last thing you need is disconnecting while in the middle of a lesson. Not only does this ruins your train of thought, but it also disrupts the class’s equilibrium. It’s also a time-waster as you have to wait to reconnect to the internet then reestablish order in your classroom.
To avoid this inconvenience, be sure to have a backup internet connection. A pocket wifi is a good choice for a backup internet connection, as you can carry it with you if you need to move somewhere.
Establish Rules as Soon as Possible
Now that you’re ready to start your class, the first step in classroom management is establishing rules. Establishing rules lets your students know how to behave while in class. And it also helps set up good habits for your students to as well.
The best time to establish rules is, you guessed it, on day one. Establishing rules at the beginning of class ensures that these rules stick to your students and become habits. When setting up your rules, don’t forget to follow them as well. Doing this sets up a perfect example for your students and helps increase their respect for you.
Remove all Distractions during Class
As a home-based online teacher, you and your students will experience plenty of distractions during online class. Unlike in a traditional classroom, where the environment limits these distractions, you and your students’ homes abound in these. Background noises and their toys or pets are just some of the common distractions your students will experience.
One way to limit distractions from affecting your students is to establish rules. For example, your students must remove all distractive items during class. Doing this allows your students to focus on your lessons instead of browsing Facebook or Tik-tok, for example. If needed, you can also talk to your students’ parents about these rules so they can assist as well.
Don’t Forget to Engage with your students.
The days of only the teacher is allowed to talk during class are slowly coming to an end. Today, student engagement is an essential part of classroom management in the online environment. Engaging your students allows you to gauge their understanding of the lesson. It also ensures that they’re still present, both in mind and body, during class.
When making your lesson plan, make sure that you have activities that allow your students to participate in the lesson. Don’t just spend the allotted time speaking, as that will bore your students quickly. Games, in particular, are a great way to engage your students with your current lesson. Rewarding them for exemplary performance is another thing you can do as well.
Address Issues Fast
Inevitably, there will be issues you will have to deal with in your online teaching job. It could be a student who thinks they’re funny when they change their name or background to something else. Or perhaps it could be students who just won’t listen to the lesson, no matter what you do.
When these issues arise, don’t just sit idly by and let it blow over. No, you must nip it in the bud before it gets worse. If a group of students are being too disruptive, notify them about it so they can stop. If they don’t stop, you can mute their microphones so as not to disrupt everyone else.
Dealing with students who aren’t paying attention during online classes can be tricky. They may have a legitimate reason for not paying attention, such as fatigue or failing internet connection. To solve this, talk to them outside of class so you know their side and what you can do to help.
Teachers play a crucial role in helping our country get back on its feet from the pandemic. That is why the theme for this year’s world teacher’s day is “Teachers at the heart of education recovery.” Without them, who will teach the next generation how to avoid our current mistakes?
As an aspiring teacher myself, I used to envy those who have an online teaching job. But I realized that I can still teach in my current job. So here’s my small contribution to world teacher’s day. I hope that you will find these tips informative and help you in better managing your online class.