Many of you are now several weeks into remote teaching. We know that during a typical school year, you already do so much for your students and their families. The last month has been no different, as we’ve seen you go above and beyond to give students the best possible learning experiences even from afar.
Adjusting to this new way of teaching has not been without challenges. Zoom lessons may not be going the way you had hoped. Mastery of the ELA standard your students were supposed to reach by the end of April may seem a bit farther off. Your remote classroom may not look as perfect as the one you spent days setting up before the year started. You may be balancing teaching your students, while also supporting and teaching your own kids at home. All of you miss your students deeply, and many of you have also just been informed that you won’t be able to return to your physical classroom this year.
Despite facing difficult circumstances and heartbreaking news, we’ve seen you ALL prioritize what matters most during this time: showing up for your students however you are able. Now, more than ever, kids need to know their teachers are there for them, and you have all risen to the challenge. We appreciate you, and we wanted to share some of the heartwarming ways we’ve seen you find ways to stay connected to your students.
Celebrating Student Progress
We’ve loved seeing the shout-outs educators have been giving their kids even from a distance. Whether it is highlighting a new reading milestone or writing to tell them how proud you are of their progress, we’ve seen many of you go out of your way to celebrate your students via email, texts, Google Classroom, social media, or on platforms like Flipgrid. Nothing makes a student’s day more than knowing their favorite teacher is still cheering them on. To help you encourage your students, we’ve added a Daily Reading report that makes it easy to see the amazing progress your students have made while reading on Epic at home.
Holding Informal Virtual Meet-Ups
Book clubs, virtual spirit days, digital field trips, or lunch with your students on Zoom: these are just a few of the creative meet-ups we’ve seen you host remotely. Sometimes kids just being able to share what’s going on in their lives or spending some fun and informal educational time with their favorite teacher can mean so much.
Spreading the Joy
We know you strive every day to bring a smile to your students’ faces at school and that hasn’t changed since you have started teaching remotely. You’ve done silly things like dump water on your head to celebrate progress, held book battles with the stories you know will give students a much-needed dose of giggles, or even sent videos of yourself doing the latest Go Noodle dance to set an example for staying healthy at home. We’ve also loved seeing the social distancing parades that teachers are organizing to wave to and encourage their students from a safe distance.
Prioritizing Social-Emotional Learning
We all are going through a lot during this time – and it’s no different for your students. Many of you have recognized that your students need more time to process and talk about what they are feeling during this time. We have been so impressed with the ways you have stayed connected by prioritizing rituals like community meetings, squeezing in ice-breakers, games, and movement breaks throughout instruction, and using virtual read-alouds and discussions to make sure kids have the space to process their emotions.
Keeping it Simple
Educators are incredible, in our humble opinion, and have been innovative with limited resources, time, and technology, but we also know every educator’s experience is different. Maybe you haven’t been able to live stream a lesson, but you did send your students’ parents a text message to check-in. Maybe your guided reading lesson tanked, but you made time to talk with your kids about what they have been doing with their families. Everything you do matters and has helped your kids feel connected to you. Thank you for trying. Thank you for the small gestures that might feel insignificant right now. We know they mean the world to your students.
How have you managed to stay connected to your students during this time? Let us know on Instagram or Facebook using #EpicEducators and tagging @epic4educators.