Could you use some joy, hope, and peace as a teacher in these strange times? We’re all struggling right now, and since we can’t change the situation, we can prepare ourselves and our mindsets for it. Think it’s not possible to enjoy virtual teaching? You’re in the right place! I’m going to share 3 reasons to love virtual teaching. Let’s go!
This year is stressful. There are a million and one things to complain about. Our challenge is to keep our focus. Try saying out loud, “I love teaching. I love being able to be the guide to the world’s future. And even if I have to leave my comfort zone and do it all on the internet, I am going to find joy in it.” You can take control of your life, emotions, and reactions to virtual teaching.
Our perspective to our circumstances can keep us from enjoying it. This time is absolutely difficult, but everything worth doing in life has some challenge to it. Otherwise everyone would do it! Not just everybody on the street would agree if asked them to walk into a classroom and do what you are doing right now. Our little learners need YOU!
Thoughts = Actions
It may sound like a good line in a fairytale, but it’s true that our thinking has a large effect on what we are capable of achieving. James Clear, the author of Atomic Habits, writes in an article HERE about an experiment that demonstrated the power of positive thinking by testing tested the power of emotions on the brain.
The scientist used five groups of people. They showed each group a set of images. One group’s images created joy, the second contentment, the third was neutral, fourth was fear, and fifth was anger.
After the experiment, the participants were asked to imagine what they would do like to do in certain situations. The people who saw images that would cause fear and anger wrote down the fewest responses. The groups who saw images of joy and contentment wrote down a significantly higher number of actions they would take even compared to the neutral group.
So what’s the takeaway? If we are staying in fear and anger, it limits what actions we can think of to take about a situation. If we stay in places of joy and contentment, we see more possibilities. That’s exactly what we need right now!
Reasons to love virtual teaching #1: If you hate it, so will your students!
If we have a negative attitude toward the things we have to do, our students will absolutely pick up on that. What’s worse, they’ll model that behavior and feed it back to us. Do we want that during our virtual teaching? Absolutely not!
I want students to be joyful, eager to be present for instruction, and be engaged with what I’m teaching that day. That means I have to choose joy. I have to love virtual teaching so that my students will love virtual learning.
Are you wondering what my secret is? Well, to be honest, I faked it in the beginning. But now, I completely feel it. Dr. Jean says, “Fake it until you feel it.”
The first day of virtual teaching, I showed up with my game face on. First, I listened to my favorite song (Thunder by Imagine Dragons is my hype music!). I put on my happy face, had my classroom cheers ready, my silly face challenge for a reward, and I didn’t let 2020 bring me down. I came in with joy, and it’s grown every day. More about classroom cheers, and a free set of 54 cheer cards to download, HERE.
All that sounds great, right? But does it really work to make a difference for students? I believe it does. It warmed my heart to see that the grandma of one of my students commented on our Facebook group that her grandson couldn’t wait to come to virtual school every day. She wasn’t unrealistic, because she even noted that it’s not the same as regular school, but said her grandson is still loving the process of learning.
Your joy WILL spill over into your students!
Reasons to love virtual teaching #2: Parents and families finally see your hard work!
Now, parents and families are understanding what teaching is like. For many of them, it’s not what they thought. It’s more difficult, complicated, and tailored to individual learners. Caregivers will see your expertise and your JOY.
They will see your joy for teaching and commend you for it. I’ve gotten compliments from a lot of parents because of that. Now, we don’t teach for that reason, but it does boost our confidence and our joy. It’s contagious and grows from the initial time of faking it.
If it weren’t for the unique situation we’re in, I’m not sure the world would have ever understood the respect that is due teachers. We work our bottoms off, and finally people are able to see and understand our hard work. This is an opportunity in history to show your worth.
Reasons to love virtual teaching #3: It provides a new learning opportunity for us!
This one may be a little harder to wrap your mind around, but please hear me out. Would you agree that teachers should be life-long learners? It’s what we teach our students. Being virtual teachers is exactly the kind of opportunity that we encourage our students to take.
Now, I know that at some point you have stood in a classroom and encouraged a struggling learner to keep trying, keep going, and not give up. Now we’re in that same situation as educators! We have a challenge set out in front of us. Sure, it’s difficult, but that’s not a reason to give up. Wouldn’t it be hypocritical if we don’t give this our best effort and enjoy the growth that we receive as a result?
Use this as an opportunity to grow in your career. Pick some mantras to say to yourself every day.
Try, “I am powerful.”
“I can do this.”
“I am an educated person, and these children look up to me.”
In the first five weeks of this new teaching dynamic, I have gained so many skills. I feel refreshed and grateful that I am able to try new things. It’s most certainly not perfect, but it’s absolutely getting better. In my area, we still don’t know when we can return to in person teaching. When we do, it will still be a hybrid format.
Virtual teaching isn’t going away, and I’m looking forward to seeing where I am by the end of this in my talents and skills. Look at all of this with a growth mindset, and you’ll be just fine.
Keep your joy with you!
Don’t focus on the negatives and what is going wrong, because you’ll find plenty! Laser in on what you need to do for your students and deliver that. You can enjoy this too. Stop being so hard on yourself.
I’m pretty sure you’ve heard this, but we’re building a plane as we fly it. It’s true on so many levels. Have some grace with yourself. We may create the most incredible airplane the world has ever seen. And because we’re awesome primary teachers, we’ll throw some glitter on that contraption and watch it sparkle!
Children adore teachers in ways that no one in any other area of your life will ever adore you. Every time you share an assignment, share your voice. You are your students’ hero. It’s harder to connect through a screen, but that child on the other side needs you, your knowledge, and your selfless gift of monumental joy.
Whether you’re teaching in person or virtually, you are a difference maker! The world needs what you have, so please share it. If you haven’t already, it would bring me joy if you joined our Primary Teacher Friends Facebook group right HERE! We’d love to have your insight and experience over there. I share lots of resources too! This week’s freebie is a monthly reading log you can give students to color.
Join me next week, and in the meantime, put on that happy face! Go make a difference, teacher friend.