Tech can be one of the most powerful tools in your teaching toolbox. It can make life easier in and out of the classroom!
Whether you are looking to streamline grading, improve parent communication, or find ways to stay connected with your students, there is a tech tool for every teacher.
1. Get Organized
If you’re an educator, there’s no doubt you have a lot of things on your plate. Fortunately, there are ways to streamline your workload and stay on top of your responsibilities without sacrificing quality time with students.
One of the most important tasks you can do is get organized. Even the slightest amount of organization can make a huge difference in your day.
The way you organize your desk, for instance, sends a message to your students about the kind of person you are and how you run your classroom. If you have an impeccably organized desk, this is a sign that you are a professional who cares about the well-being of your students and that you take organizational skills seriously.
Another way you can get organized is by making sure everything has a place in the room. Having all of your materials and lesson materials in place will save you valuable class time that could be spent searching for supplies.
You can also get your classroom and yourself organized by establishing rules and routines for the classroom. These can involve everything from how students submit assignments to how they interact with each other inside and outside of the classroom.
These will help you to maintain an organized classroom environment and keep you on track as you work toward your goals for the year. They will also help you to be a better teacher!
Once you have established some rules and routines, it’s time to implement them in your classroom. Start by deciding where you will place materials for students to use and how you will collect work from them on a regular basis. You may also want to decide whether you will use a cubby or folder for each student.
Creating these routines will allow you to maintain an organized classroom and will also give your students a better understanding of how they should be working in the classroom. Once you have established these routines, they will be easier to follow and will make it much more likely that your students will comply with your expectations.
2. Take a Break
For educators with a busy day job and a family to maintain, a good old fashioned break from it all is an ideal way to recharge your batteries. A well-planned and executed break can boost your productivity and mood quotients, which in turn will boost your students’ confidence levels. In the same vein, a brisk walk or some well-timed yoga can be a big win for your mind and body. A calorie-tracking workout is another way to get the blood pumping and the body happy. The best part is, it can be done right in your living room, bedroom, or even at the office. You can also opt for a well-timed massage or facial treatment. You’ll be surprised what a little pampering can do for your psyche and your bottom line.
3. Stay Connected
Teachers who have experienced a difficult time staying connected are often in need of support. One way to help them is by connecting with their community. Online teacher communities, social media groups, and blogs are a great place to meet other educators who understand their challenges.
Aside from their support system, teachers need to be able to connect with students. This can be done in the classroom, through a virtual learning platform, or in a face-to-face setting.
The best way to do this is to communicate regularly with students and their parents. This can be through email, phone calls or short FaceTime or Zoom chats.
Staying in touch with your students is especially important during stressful times. It can help build a sense of security for them and give them an opportunity to share their concerns or celebrate successes together.
Taking the time to communicate with your students and their parents is also a great way to show your appreciation for them. It can also help you learn about their interests and how they are coping during this time.
You can also set up a study group for the 2022-2023 school year to keep students connected with their peers and with you. Use a platform like Microsoft Teams or Zoom to facilitate online meetings and discussions, which can help you develop strong relationships with your students while still providing a high-quality learning experience.
It’s also a great way to practice the skills you learned in your course or program and continue to grow professionally. This can help you gain valuable insights into your teaching career and how you can grow it in the future.
Aside from these strategies, it’s also important for you to take care of yourself. Taking care of your physical and mental health will help you feel strong and ready to handle stressful situations and be a great teacher for your students. Getting enough sleep, eating healthy, and engaging in activities outside of work can also help you stay positive during this challenging time.
If you are an aspiring educator and need help deciding on a career path, Handshake will host a free virtual event to help you kickstart your search for the perfect education job this fall. The event will feature a panel of experts who can answer your questions about teaching careers, and it will include a list of schools and districts hiring students and college graduates this year.
4. Stay Safe
As students increasingly use digital technologies for learning and communication, teachers play an important role in keeping their students safe online. As such, they need to develop their own professional knowledge of digital safety, model best practices, and teach their students about digital safety.
One important way to keep your students safe is by using antivirus software. This protects your computer from malware and other threats that can damage or steal personal data. It also allows you to monitor your network traffic and protect yourself from cybercriminals.
In addition to protecting your PC from malware, it is essential to have a virtual private network (VPN) that encrypts your internet traffic and hides your activity from third parties that may collect your information. Reliable VPNs include CyberGhost, ExpressVPN, and PrivateInternetAccess.
Another way to keep your students safe is by ensuring that their devices are password-protected. This prevents anyone from accessing the device or your information without your permission, which can be a real problem if you lose your phone or it gets stolen.
It is also important to check the sharing settings for your files and folders on a regular basis. This will ensure that students don’t have access to their files and photos without your consent.
Moreover, it is crucial to regularly review your classroom walls and whiteboards for any sensitive student information. This could include things like logins, class codes for apps, and grades.
These items can easily be hacked and accessed by cybercriminals, so it’s crucial to ensure that this information is not displayed on any public space in your classroom. You can do this by taking inventory of everything in your classroom and removing any postings that contain students’ info.
While some schools are using AI-powered content filters and cybersecurity tools to guard their students, these tools are not foolproof. They do not detect and stop all risky behavior, including cyberbullying, pornography, weapons, threats, and predatory grooming. This is why schools need to combine their content filters with screen monitoring tools that can detect these behaviors and alert designated school officials when they are observed.