Are you finding the virtual teaching experience to be messy, confusing or frustrating? You’re not alone.

Many teachers are leading lessons and classes online now that states have closed schools as a result of COVID-19—and many are finding it challenging. 

The education community is in the process of figuring out this tricky transition and, in many cases, the teacher has become the student as they learn new skills and tools to adapt. 

Here are five ways to improve the virtual teaching experience for both the teacher and the student: 

    1. Keep it simple. Both you and your students are adapting to a new way of living and are facing unique challenges as a result of social distancing. Go easy on yourself—and them—with simple assignments that are familiar and straightforward. 
  • Balance on-screen and off-screen assignments. It is likely that your students will be spending more time on their computers and phones with social distancing in effect—whether they are Skyping with relatives, texting with friends or browsing the internet in their downtime. Too much screen time can be tiring and cause students to lose focus, so balance online assignments with other types of activities. 
  • Create a social media account. Whether it is your own professional account as an educator or a private classroom account, creating a social platform for your students to engage with will create a sense of continuity and cohesiveness. While you can’t be together in person, this account will help classmates connect with and support each other and might make them more willing to connect with you. 
  • Use existing resources. There are many online resources and educational videos available for teachers, so take advantage of them. You might burn out creating new video content or a live stream for each lesson, so utilize the virtual teaching resources that already exist. Many are on sale (or free) right now as more schools transition to online learning as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 
  • Increase communication with parents. Your students’ parents are your partners on this new adventure. Now is a time to step up communication so that you have an accurate understanding of your students’ home life and context. Long-distance learning creates different metrics for success, so make sure you are speaking with parents about changing expectations and requirements.