In this time of online learning, it can be much harder to connect with students, because you’re not able to see how they’re doing throughout the day. And while students may be completing online assignments and joining live video conferencing sessions, they may not be getting the one-on-one connection that they’re used to at school. But it’s certainly possible to work individual touchpoints into your remote teaching plans.
Start by identifying the frequency with which you want to connect with each student – once per week, every other week, etc. Then divide your class list up into five groups, one for each day of the week. This way you have no more than 5-6 students to check in with each day and you can space them out or dedicate a block of time for individual check-ins.
These touchpoints don’t need to be long – even 15 minutes will help a child feel seen and provide them with a sense of connection. Consider video conferencing if that’s an option, so you can see the child face-to-face. If not, a phone call works, too!
Consider asking the child simple questions such as what they enjoy about school at home, or ask them to show you something in their home – their bedroom or a special object. This time doesn’t need to be about academics, and it’s not the time to teach a lesson. It’s really about connecting with the child.
There are many challenges about remote learning, but one of the great joys is the opportunity to see children in their home environment and get to know them on a much deeper level. And while class-wide calls certainly have value, the individual check-ins can really make a child’s day and take your relationship with the child to a whole new level.
Note: All communication with students should go through the official apps or technology resources from your school and should be coordinated directly with the child’s adult caregiver (parent or guardian), never directly to a student’s personal device. It is always a good idea to have an adult present during the call for safety and liability reasons.