School closures have caused teachers like yourself to transition to distance learning. Providing instruction and resources online is a huge shift for teachers, students, and parents. Admittedly, it can be really overwhelming to manage student work, answer questions, and get things graded! One way to save your sanity during distance learning is to set office hours. Here are some simple tips to help you set office hours for your students to check-in and get the help you need!
Set Your Own Daily Schedule
First, make sure to set up a schedule that works for you. Perhaps, your school or district has you meeting with students at certain times. However, you still want to make sure you set up times that work for you to upload materials, respond to emails, and take care of your own family needs. In the Easy Distance Learning course, I include an editable Daily Schedule that you may customize to work your remote classroom work for you!
Set Up a Weekly Schedule for Your Students
Next, give your students the flexibility to complete assignments and check-in with you by sharing a weekly schedule at the onset of distance learning. By sharing an optimal schedule to help them complete required and optional work, your students and parents will be able to plan out their week and see when they need to visit with you during your office hours. You'll also alleviate a lot of the need for questions if you share how the week will play out ahead of time. In addition, this will save you time and keep you sane during distance learning! Check out the editable weekly schedule in my Easy Distance Learning course.
Zoom Into Distance Learning
Once you set up your own home schedule, you’ll want to find some time to connect face-to-face with your learners. To begin, try Zoom! Zoom is a platform where you can hold virtual meetings from any device that connects to the internet. With your own personal meeting ID, you can set up office hours for your students. After you set up a Zoom account, let your students and parents know when you’ll be online to answer questions. Share your personal ID, and they can pop-in when they need you! I recommend setting up 30-60 minutes. I talk more about this strategy in the Easy Distance Learning course. Learn more about how to use Zoom for whole-class meetings, one-on-one conferences, and recording lessons.
Set Boundaries with Parents and Students
Once you set your office hours and daily, make sure that you adhere to them as much as possible. Of course, distance learning is a transition for everyone, but answering emails at 10:00 at night or agreeing to Zoom meetings during dinnertime will not only drive you crazy, but it also will make it more difficult for you to finish other tasks you are responsible for as a teacher. Let parents and students know that you are available during office hour times or that you will respond to emails within 24 hours.
Give Yourself Grace
Just remember, distance learning is new for everyone! You are going to make mistakes. Office hours may need to shift and change. Your students may have questions after hours that you may find yourself instinctively answering. However, if you give yourself and your students a schedule and use tools to help with office hours, you'll save yourself a lot of stress. Try these office hours tips and others shared in the Easy Distance Learning course to get started!