This is an open letter to all of you, students, who are now immersed in distance learning. We know that this is happening too quickly and we know that this is as stressful for you as it is for us. This is why we want to make this easier for everyone, and for that to happen, we need your full cooperation.
All eyes are on us, teachers now, and we need your full cooperation and understanding in order to get the most out of this learning situation.
Here are ten tips/steps you should follow in order to ease the burden on your teacher:
Wait and please do not be negative if some of your classmates have technical problems, or if they post questions you think are maybe redundant. Please bear in mind that not all students possess the same knowledge about using digital tools and some of your classmates may not be very tech-savvy.
Be a lesson moderator.
Does someone have some problems with using the apps or completing the assignments? You are allowed to step in and help your classmates finish a task. At the same time, you are letting your teacher continue with the lesson without interruptions.
Help your teacher.
If you noticed that your teacher is stuck, motivate your teacher to continue, even offer to help with using an app if you know how to use it. Be polite, but do not be ashamed to show that you know something. I promise you that your teacher will be forever grateful.
Complete your assignments on time.
Your teacher spent a lot of time creating the assignments. Chances are, that your teacher may have used technology to create your assignments for the first time ever. Do not make your teacher remind you multiple times – collaborate and complete your assignment on time.
Do not try to cheat.
If you have to take an exam online, do not cheat. Your teacher will probably know, and he/she will definitely conduct an oral examination. You do not want to completely fail a subject and learn nothing. Now that you are not going to school, you have a bit more time to study. Try to study a little every day and take the exam seriously – as if it was conducted in the classroom.
Mindfulness and being nice is something that we should not forget despite being in a virtual classroom. Being compassionate with your classmates will make you feel at ease, as well as them. The current situation in the world is not very good, so some of your classmates may be more stressed out than others. Try to calm them down and tell them that everything will be all right and do everything to prevent further panic.
Try to enjoy the virtual classroom.
The distance learning classroom can be so much fun if you let go and participate fully. Your teacher may present many interesting things, apps, games, and activities. Feel free to suggest any activities you would like to do or any app you would like to use. You can even present it to the rest of the class. Since you will be using digital tools for some time, why not try to introduce some digital content you like?
Explore the tools your teachers decided to use by yourself.
Chances are that your teacher is swamped with work and juggling between learning how to properly apply distance learning, creating materials and tasks for you, attending teacher training, and let’s not forget that teachers have their own families. We know you like using computers and phones, so why don’t you take your time and explore the digital tools your teacher decided to use?
Most teachers will try to explain, and some of them will even make video tutorials for the apps, but students often get stuck and just ask when they cannot find an option. Why not turn this situation around, and do your own research on the app? The teacher mentioned that she will use Genial.ly and Edmodo. Why not watch a tutorial on YouTube and then go explore the app itself?
Take distance learning seriously, but also try to relax.
Distance learning is still learning, and you are all still students. The classroom is a classroom no matter where is it located. Bear this in mind and try to behave nicely in the virtual classroom as you would in the brick and mortar classroom. With this in mind, also try to relax and act as you would usually do in your usual classroom.
Collaborate with the rest of your class.
If the teacher asks you to collaborate, work in pairs, or small groups, try to do your part and take the online group work as seriously as you would participate in a group activity in the regular classroom. Collaborating online maybe even more fun than collaborating in person because you will talk online while also using the chatbox, which is never boring, right?!
Dear teachers, what do you think of this open letter? Would it mean something for your classroom management if you sent out a letter like this? Do you feel that older students should take part in the responsibility for the success of the distance learning classroom? Write in the comments, we would love to hear your opinion!