The transition from in-person teaching and remote teaching is no easy task. During this time, educators have been focusing how to best support teachers and students while beginning this new normal of facilitating learning from home.

Erika Rodriguez (@ErikaLRodrigue1), Middle School Science teacher at Klein ISD, recently sat down with us to share how her life has changed with remote teaching and how it has affected her school district. She explained how even the smallest changes during this time of remote learning have affected her whole teaching style, like no longer being able to give her students fist bumps or high fives in the morning. Erika was also able to give us some great insight into how she is coping and her advice for teachers coping with the new normal of remote teaching.

How Has Operating as a Teacher Changed with Remote Teaching?

Erika explains the biggest difference between remote teaching and in-person teaching is that she now functions more as a facilitator while teaching from home. This facilitator role contrasts with what she described as her “sage on the stage” role in the classroom. With this shift to being more of a facilitator than lecturer, she now takes the backseat as student learning of material is done on students’ own time during remote learning.

Another change Erika has experienced through remote teaching is how much your environment can affect your mindset. Erika described that she has had to set up a makeshift “home office” in her bedroom so she is able to separate her teacher role from her role as a parent. She explains that when teaching from home, it becomes especially difficult to find a balance between staying in the mindset of a teacher versus being a parent. She reminds herself daily how to separate the two roles.

How Are You Coping with the New Normal of Remote Teaching?

Although Erika misses the simple things that come with in-person teaching, like giving her students fist bumps or high fives in the morning, she has found ways to continue some aspects of her normal routine. In a traditional classroom setting, Erika would begin the morning with a random activity for students to engage in. Now, during remote teaching, Erika has utilized Screencastify to record a similar random activity and then push it out to her students through their Learning Management System. An example of a random activity she recently shared with her students was called a “helping hand.” The assignment for students was to help with a chore or other helpful tasks around the house.

In addition to missing her students, Erika explained that it has been difficult not seeing her colleagues every day. Something her district has done to continue collaboration between colleagues is having weekly staff meetings. Erika explained that her school has an all-staff meeting on Zoom every Monday to maintain consistency. Additionally, Erika’s Science Department also meets virtually once a week as a Professional Learning Community.

Remote Teaching Advice

Erika’s advice for teachers during remote teaching is to take it slow and steady. She explains that teachers are being introduced to a lot of new technology right now, so she recommends trying to learn one new thing at a time, and not getting bogged down by everything that is new. With so much new information being introduced to teachers every day, another tip Erika suggests to practice time management. She says it is easy to get overwhelmed, but she suggests finishing one thing at a time and then moving on to the next task.

Furthermore, while caring for your students during this time of remote teaching, Erika wants to remind teachers to take care of yourself. She explains that if we can not take care of ourselves, then we can not take care of our students.

There is a stark difference between remote teaching and in-person teaching. During this time of remote teaching, many teachers are learning how to take on their new role as a facilitator, as well as adapting to their new teaching environment. Erika’s biggest advice for teachers during this time is to remember to take care of yourself first.

Listen to full conversation with Erika Rodriguez

On this episode of Tackling Tech Podcast, powered by Dyknow, Brett McGrath talks with Erika Rodriguez, a middle school science teacher in Houston. Erika shares how her life has changed since the quarantine started and how her district is supporting their teachers and ensuring students are continuing their education.

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