At the start of the school year, every teacher spends time discussing classroom expectations. As classrooms have shifted to online platforms, it may be time to dust off those beginning of the year strategies and start fresh with expectations for distance learning.

Most teachers are hosting some type of live online learning through a video conferencing platform. As students gain practice with this new method of learning, they may need help understanding not only how it works, but what is expected of them.

Even if you’re several weeks into this new method of teaching, it’s never too late to start fresh with expectations. Here are a few to consider.


  • Students will log in two minutes before the meeting.


  • Students will show respect for online learning by sitting at a desk or table if possible, or sitting up on a couch or chair.


  • Students will try to find a quiet place to join the meeting, and will be on mute unless they’re speaking.


Students will use a built-in feature of the app (chat, “raise hand”, etc.) to ask a question.


  • When ready to speak, first say your name so everyone can identify who is speaking.

Feel free to modify these to your context and add any that are specific to your students. Just like expectations at the beginning of the year, it’s important that expectations are clear and repeated often. And then it’s important that students are held accountable for meeting expectations in a gentle and private manner. 

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