Teacher collaboration will be more vital now than ever before. It’s impossible to expect an individual teacher to build and curate all of the learning experiences needed for their students alone. Our partners and experience tell us that the best way to maximize the value of these spaces is to create specific goals, structure, and expected outcomes. We suggest creating some purpose to these more informal spaces online:
Co-plan and crowdsource resources
Developing a virtual classroom is too much for a single teacher to accomplish on their own. Use Huddles to share resources between teachers to lighten the load. One teacher can record a read-aloud while another teacher works on a playlist of math games for students. Taking the time to ask for help now will pay dividends in the future. A lesson you created on Tuesday could be perfect for someone else on Thursday. Create Huddles around different grade levels, subjects, topics, or resource types. Share links to existing online resources, create new resources for students and record instructional videos that others can use. As the old saying goes, “many hands make light work.”
If you’ve already got department teams or professional learning communities in place, encourage them to continue! Create space for your team to meet online to co-plan and support one another. Check out this webinar to learn more, and read about Sibme Faculty Meetings (below).
Close the Social Distance
One of the hardest things about remote work is isolation. With all the work that needs to be done to make a quick transition to teleschooling, many people forget the importance of healthy relationships with coworkers. We pair our team up weekly for “virtual coffee” to help combat this problem. These are short (usually around 15 minutes) interactions between two coworkers that are randomly assigned every week. The interaction can be a quick phone call, a virtual chat, or a web conference, but make sure to keep it casual and avoid work topics! We’ve found that creating some “conversation starters” can be helpful at first. And with all that’s going on in the world right now, there’s plenty to talk about. We’re social creatures, but it’s possible to continue to maintain social interaction while observing social distance. And it’s important to create (virtual) space for it to happen.