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Emergency teaching during a lockdown
Let’s call it by its name. We are in a phase of emergency teaching. This isn’t remote teaching or online teaching. This is emergency teaching during a lockdown. And yes, it’s normal to feel tired. The productivity of students and teachers alike is lower. In this blog, I want to share 6 tips from my own experience.
Tip 1 Accept the lockdown situation
This was the hardest one for me. I’ve been teaching from home for quite some time and I know it’s a challenge for everyone. Staying at home and losing control over your schedule. Or, as one of my students called it, losing the freedom to save us all. Accepting the situation is a huge step. Yes, we are at home, yes, my contact with students is different, yes, in other situations, I could XYZ. It helps no one to keep affirming that offline teaching is better. What does help is accepting and offering help! And keep perspective. This lockdown is going to end.
Tip 2 Stay in contact during a lockdown
For the sanity of yourself and others, keep in contact. We are social creatures. There is a reason why we enjoy breaks with others, drinking coffee. A goal to keep in contact is to have a non-work related call with a friend, family member, or colleague a day. It helps to stay connected and share experiences. Everyone can feel alone. And the quickest solution is to stay in contact. Be explicit when communicating and when in doubt over-communicate. And I try to plan the next meeting during the current meeting. Not only useful during a lockdown.
Tip 3 Routine during a lockdown
Routines ensure that everything you need to do is done. Yes, I know, it’s a dead giveaway. Even if my first lesson is at 11.00 (am), I always have an alarm set for 7.00. Breakfast, coffee, and ready to start another day. Because I shut down every computer I use at night; the machine is responsive in the morning. Using the stand-by function is causing many problems during a conference call (also known as I can’t have that now). Lunch and diner are also at planned moments. Your own health is priority number one. And reboot/shutdown computers/iPads/iPhones helps a lot with speedy and snappy responses
Tip 4 Boundaries
Set boundaries and manage them proactively. With family members and disturbing you during your work, with coworkers, and no replies after working hours. With yourself, no Netflix at 10.00 (am), no phone in the bed.
Tip 5 Mental fitness
Our brains need stimulation. Try to find a new hobby or learn a new skill. I started baking bread. One of the great communities for a lot of things (and a lot of garbage) is Reddit. I learned a lot from Breadit. I was lucky to have a great mentor (thanks Rico!), he is famous for his breads. Share the newly acquired skills (see tip 2). I’ve started blogging again! It’s a good way to organize thoughts, and the product of that organizing is always fun to put in writing. Daily I ride my bicycle, the IKEA one (from a previous blog)
Tip 6 know the tools, really know them!
In a traditional environment, you have a whiteboard, beamer, and perhaps even a chalkboard. Learn everything there is about the new tools. Google Meet has a few hidden features (most of them are located in the overflow (look for three dots)-menu. Help and support help a lot to identify a problem (bandwidth or CPU problems). Bandwidth problems are solved by getting closer to a Wi-Fi access point or limit machines on the network. CPU problems are solved by closing all but one window (close Spotify/outlook helps a lot!)