How to Survive in a Virtual High School Classroom
This year was undoubtedly full of twists and turns. Schools were alternately open and closed, and kids were switching from offline to online classes as the pandemic surged and decreased.
Teachers had to learn how to cope with the situation and pass meaningful information to their students without little or no instructions.
Luckily, the pandemic taught us valuable lessons we can use in the following year since the situation is likely to remain the same for at least some time.
With that being said, we will share some tips for teachers on how to survive in a virtual high school classroom and provide their students with the educational continuity they need.
Set clear expectations from your students
Virtual high school classrooms come with a lot of challenges, and one of them is the danger of miscommunication. That’s why teachers should ensure they set clear expectations for their students to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Teachers leading a virtual high school classroom should make sure to:
- Outline and communicate what should be completed before the class.
- Create clear attendance requirements.
- Outline the use of a webcam during class.
- Clarify what’s allowed and what’s prohibited during class (muting/unmuting rules, eating during class, etc)
- Outline what are the consequences in case rules are broken.
- Outline how will students ask questions, or comment on a lecture.
Help students connect outside of the virtual high school classroom
If students see each other only during the virtual high school classroom, they might feel tempted to spend a big chunk of the class catching up. For teachers, this usually means losing precious time in hushing the students, instead of passing knowledge.
That said, teachers should free up some time for students to catch up. For instance, they can start a session 10 minutes early, and make a room for dialogue and catching up. They should also highlight the fact everyone in the class should focus on the lecture. That way, they can ensure their time in the class will be spent wisely, with students being fully present during the instructional parts of the class.
Leave room for effective communication
Switching from offline to online classes might be confusing for some students. For that reason, teachers should help them understand the changes and let them know they should feel free to discuss anything that might be bothering them.
Teachers should assure their students everything is under control, and that they’re here to resolve any obstacle that might come up along the way. This is a good way of building trust and paving the way for a successful school year.
Teachers should make sure to explain:
- How to log on to the platform for virtual high school classroom
- Deadlines for homework
- How to submit homework
- How they can reach out if they have problems
- What to do if they find themselves in unexpected circumstances
Create a common space for students and their families.
The lack of physical contact might make students and their caretakers feel disconnected. Furthermore, if you don’t have a central place where you share important information about the class, some information might be missed, and parents might feel out of the loop.
That’s why having a central place where students and their caretakers can share and get vital information about the class is important. You can organize a group on Social Media, or even make a Slack workplace for your class. By doing that, you can easily organize tasks and assignments via dedicated groups, and create a general chat for an important announcement. Furthermore, since Slack allows users to have private chats as well, students can catch up with each other before or after class which will help them overcome the physical distance.
Track attendance in a virtual high school classroom
Studies show that regular attendance in classes is closely tied to high academic achievement. When they miss classes, students miss out on vital information essential for the learning process. Furthermore, if teachers don’t pay close attention to students’ attendance, they won’t be able to gauge if the classes were truly informative and useful. Furthermore, they will be less likely to gain proper insights on whether something should be changed or adjusted to fit students’ needs best.
There is a wide variety of ways teachers can track students’ attendance ranging from excel sheets to specialized software. Depending on the needs and capabilities, schools and teachers, along with parents, can assess which one of these options would fit their needs the best.
Even though it’s primarily meant for employee leave tracking, Vacation Tracker can also serve as attendance tracking software. In the case of classrooms that already use Slack or Microsoft Teams, teachers and caretakers can opt to use Vacation Tracker since it comes as an integration to track students’ attendance.
This software is simple to use and pretty intuitive. All students have to do is type /vacation in their Slack chat, or start a chat with the bot in Microsoft Temas and they will be able to fill out the forms explaining why they cannot attend the class. On the other side, teachers will be able to have all the information about their students’ attendance at their disposal at any given moment and ensure everyone has proper and equal access to knowledge. If you’re interested in how Vacation Tracker can help you improve your virtual high school classroom, sign up for a 7-days free trial period.
Virtual high school classrooms won’t go anytime soon!
Teachers, parents, and students will have to learn how to bypass the physical distance and make the most out of their virtual classes. Teachers surely had many obstacles to pass along the way, but this experience made them even more resilient. Here, we laid our tips for teachers on how to survive in virtual high school classrooms and make them even better in the following year!
A cat enthusiast and a cupcake maniac, Ana is a freelance Content Writer passionate about HR, productivity, and team management topics. When she’s not at her keyboard, you can find Ana in the kitchen, trying to make delicious cookies.