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Your Role in the Digital Classroom - Travis Broome

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Your Role in the Digital Classroom

As many educators continue to adapt to a digital format, the increase of frustrations keep building.  Things I’ve heard from my clients include…

  • I’m not made for online teaching, I want to be in front of the kids
  • I can barely open an email, let alone post videos and assignments online
  • The system my district is using keeps having tech issues
  • My kids aren’t logging online, I’ve put in a lot of work and it seems to be going to waste

I’ve heard much more but the last one really resonated with me…probably because I’ve had the same feeling!

This got me thinking…

What is our role as educators during this unprecedented time???

The answer is much more simple than you may think.  Our role remains the same, our outlet to making a difference has just changed for the time being.

Educators balance to maintain a level of authority while remaining compassionate…this is nothing new.  Like I explain to students when they must be disciplined, “just because I may seem upset doesn’t mean I don’t care about you.  I’m correcting your behavior because I do care about you!”

So as we navigate through the frustrations of our online experiences, I think it’s very important to do one thing…

Keep things in perspective!!!

This became evident for me when I was complaining to someone about how half of my students weren’t completing the assignments I posted.

After complaining, I went online and saw dozens of stories about families who lost loved ones.  Some of these stories had nothing to do with the virus.  The fact that people aren’t able to be with their loved ones as they passed is truly heartbreaking.

So is it really important in the grand scheme of things if our students are completing their work?  To an extent, yes it is!!!!

It is our job to help provide a sense of normalcy for our students, to continue to hold them to high standards.  Yet while doing this, we must keep in mind what is going on outside of our digital world.

How do you do this???

Do what you’ve always done…continue to balance the needs of your students with the world they’re surrounded by!

Remember, right now the main concern is the safety and well being of your students, their families, and YOU and your loved ones!!!

If a student doesn’t turn in an assignment should you give them a pass?  Not necessarily, but evaluate the situation before making a rash decision.

Full disclosure, I spent more time changing student grades because I jumped to conclusions on why they weren’t turning in their assignments.  I had to remember that my classroom was not in my control anymore but the control of the students and their families.

That being said…the content of what is available to your students is in your control!

My advice to you…
  • Keep your teaching standards high but don’t kill yourself trying to be perfect
  • Focus on what you can control…the CONTENT
  • Make judgments related to grades when you’re in a good frame of mind (unlike the classroom where you must respond to issues as they arise, you can take a break from the situation before making a decision) This is actually a positive of online teaching:-)
  • Remember why you’re teaching online…keep things in perspective

As my grandmother would always say…”this too shall pass.”  Until it does, keep yourself and those around you safe and provide that moment of sunshine for your students as you’ve always done.