As the semester begins, most of us are doing the majority of our classes via Zoom. For some of us, it’s an old friend (I don’t have to get dressed and drive anywhere! Sweat pants!), for others, it’s drudgery and makes us long for an early retirement. But one thing I know for sure: it’s not easy. Because teaching is never easy. But here’s a tip for you today: what you do to connect with each and every one of your students REALLY MATTERS. If you encourage them to meet with you individually for ten minutes in your office hours, they will feel affirmed. They will feel that you see them. And this is truly what the students need from you. It’s exhausting to reach out to them like this, but it will pay huge dividends for the rest of the semester.
Another tip I learned recently: in Zoom you can have music playing from your laptop as the students come into your “classroom.” This is a great idea, especially as students start to figure out that coming to class on time often means awkward exchanges with the teacher while waiting for the other students to join in. Why not play some funky and unexpected music instead and keep them guessing?
As always, Keep Calm and Teach On!