Relationships and well-being are areas that, in this period of sudden change, need as much attention, or one could argue maybe even more, as what and how to teach online. We all experience good and bad days whilst we are adjusting to this new learning and teaching environment, so how can we go about this?
1- Allow time in each lesson to check-in on how your learners are doing that day. So when planning your sessions, plan in 5-7 minutes at the start to socialise. This might also be a good way to deal with students arriving late due to tech issues! You could do a ‘2-minute check-in’ by asking your learners how they are feeling, what they enjoyed yesterday after class or what they are looking forward to after class today or at the weekend. You can simply share your story and get them to respond. Having a chance to focus on each other is just as important as monitoring learners’ performance in these challenging times. Letting your learners know you are there for them and that they can reach out to if needed makes them realise you care about their well-being and them as a person. Be there for them.
2- Stay in touch with your colleagues. Now we are not able to grab a coffee together or have lunch gathed around the photocopier, ensure you make time to check-in with your colleagues. We all seem to have our own preferences of who we hang out with at work, but we are in this together so do think outside ‘your’ box! Especially, reach out to those who you know might not be so comfortable with digital tools or are less outgoing in your learning community, contact them to see how they are doing and just let them know you are there if needed. Send your colleagues a message, give them a call or why not set up a group on Edmodo or have a Zoom-group where people can drop in and share highs and lows? Be there for each other.
3- Check-in with your self. Because we are all swamped; with work as we are trying to get a grip on new technology, with family duties whilst balancing work duties and managing the stress of working from home. So it is very easy to forget about ourselves! Emotional check-ins are one of the most important things you can do for your own mental and emotional health. Think about how your body is feeling today; do you have any aches, do you feel any tension? Think about to your sitting position during the day, is there anything you could do tomorrow to make yourself more comfortable? Try to describe your feelings about the day using descriptive adjectives to capture how you feel and… accept it. Brainstorming some of the things that might have contributed to these emotions can help you gain more insight into your experience. Think about what you could do to change these feelings tomorrow. It might be as simple as standing in front of the window to feel the sun on your face or having a 5-minute break listening to your favourite music in between sessions. Or listing 3 things you are grateful for; it will help you lift your mood. Just remember, you can’t be there for others that need you – be it your family, colleagues or learners- if you don’t take care of yourself first! Be kind to yourself.