Livestream teaching has its own unique perks and challenges compared to teaching in a traditional classroom. Proximity Learning expert certified virtual teachers have found some best practices for live virtual teaching that help them provide high-quality instruction to their students.
1. Prepare your activities
Just like in a brick-and-mortar school, livestreamed certified virtual teachers prepare their lessons ahead of class time. However, since virtual teachers are sharing their screens and utilizing different online resources, it is helpful to pull up all the tabs you will need for the lesson to have all the material ready and waiting. This will reduce lag in between activities and keep students engaged.
2. Be open, available and fresh for each class
Finish out each class, take a deep breath, and prepare for the next. With each new class, remember that you’re meeting a different group of students who deserve the same energy and excitement as your first class.
3. Create a respectful culture
Lead by example. Show your students and facilitator respect and you will receive the same in return. Set boundaries and expectations to support and enforce the community you want to create in your virtual classroom.
4. Support student needs
Continually check your messages and chat box to address student questions. Supplement lesson plans when necessary to ensure the whole class has grasped the concept. Utilize breakout rooms to give individualized attention to students who need extra support. Be creative in your approach as you differentiate activities.
5. Find support for yourself
Use your support systems before you really need them. Proactivity is the key here. Don’t wait until you are completely overwhelmed to take action. Reach out to the support systems within your organization. They want to help in every way they can. Join teacher Facebook groups and engage on Pinterest. Care for your mental health and seek professional help when you feel consumed. Avoid burnout before it roots.
6. Communicate clearly
Clear your voice and speak with purpose. Write out clear instructions for each assignment for thorough understanding. Expand upon your answers to student questions instead of only saying yes or no. Take care that everyone in the class understands your instructions and explanations.
7. Relationship building
Get to know your students and help them get to know each other. Describe your family and hobbies to your class and have them do the same. Start your class with mental health check-ins every day. During transitions, allow your students time to talk to each other. Allow students to pick their own project topic and present it to the class. By adding some personal elements into your academic class, students will feel closer to their teacher and peers.
8. Engage students in lessons
Use interactive programs and activities to keep students engaged in learning. Discussion boards are a great way to gauge understanding and start student conversations. Use the five senses in your virtual classroom to physically help students concentrate. Play games on Kahoot and create class competitions on ClassDojo. Take your class on a virtual field trip. Find an activity that aligns with your lesson and breaks up the day for your students.
9. Stay in tune with class progress
Ask students for feedback on concepts they still need help with. Send them a survey every Friday to ask what they learned and how they improved their skills that week. When you receive responses, truly take that into account and pivot your plans to match the needs of the class. Focus on using breakout rooms, if students are at different levels of understanding. Encourage your class to help teach each other without judgment.
10. Give a unique experience
Overall, give your students a unique experience in your class. There is no other teacher like you. You have your own expertise and talent to share. Embrace your strengths to differentiate your class from any other. Make your class the one students look forward to each day.
There are many best practices for online teaching, but these will help you stand out from the crowd and give your students the best learning experience possible. Engaged certified virtual teachers have engaged students. Use your own talents, the support of others, and online resources to help you keep students engaged.