What are the do’s and don’ts of hybrid teaching?
Many districts, including the one where I work, are making plans to begin teaching in the physical classroom after being fully online since last March. Teacher vaccinations and decreasing COVID-19 infection rates in the community are now making that move a possibility.
Many schools are considering an option that has several names—concurrent, hybrid, hyflex—and most include teaching students who are in our physical classroom at the same time we are teaching some who are online.
What better way to learn how to do this kind of teaching than from those who have been at it for months?
The first two posts in this series appeared in October. With the imminent return of so many of us to the physical classroom, I felt like we could use all the advice we could get, so decided to “restart” the series now and invited many more experienced educators to contribute their lessons. Look for several more posts in the coming week.
Christina Diaz has been teaching EL and bilingual students for 12 years. She is currently a 4th and 5th grade dual-language teacher in Downers Grove, Ill. You can follow her on Twitter at @BilingualLions:
If you have found yourself being asked to teach virtual and in-person students concurrently, you are not alone. This instructional model is sometimes called hybrid learning, and while some teachers have been teaching it since the beginning of the year, many are making the transition from remote to a form of hybrid teaching over the next portion of the school year. This may sound daunting (and it is), but the following are some practices that may help with your transition.
- Make your remote students feel like they’re still part of your class even though they’re still learning from home. Your remote students should still be able to participate in the same activities and lessons that your hybrid students are. This may require you to plan ahead if you want to send home or have families pick up crafts or activities. You can also have the students submit an activity electronically and you can print it out afterward so they are included.
- Have your in-person and remote learners interact with each other often, via breakout rooms or on apps like Jamboard, Kahoot, or FlipGrid to maintain your classroom community. Community is EVERYTHING!
- Set learning expectations for in-person and remote learners. While they may be different for both groups, students should know what materials they need to have for class daily, when and how to submit work and expectations while on Zoom, such as cameras, participation, and safety.
- Give your remote learners a variety of ways to demonstrate that they’re engaged during your lessons. Just because their screens may be off, doesn’t mean they’re not there. You can encourage them to unmute themselves, use the chat box, use reactions or hand signals to share.
- Create routines. Give your students a sense of routine and stability by starting your days the same way. You can begin with a question for the students to answer while you take attendance; begin with a fun greeting or class meeting; review the schedule for the day; and assign class jobs (greeter, attendance taker, chat monitor, co-host for the day, etc.).
- Reach out to your school/district technology department for support. You’ll want to make sure that your in-person and remote students can see the same things while you are teaching. I accomplish this by projecting my computer on the board for my in-person students and then sharing my screen on Zoom for my remote students. My projector has built-in speakers that allow my in-person students to hear what the remote students are saying. Because every school/district is different, it is important to reach out to see what devices and tools you have at your disposal.
- Use a second device to give your remote students a glimpse into your classroom. While this is optional, it allows your remote students to see what’s going on in your classroom and to seetheir classmates. Your in-person students can also see their remote classmates through that second screen.
- Find ways to celebrate your students. This has been such a tough year, so celebrate the little things, such as birthdays, student accomplishments, spirit days, and class rewards.
- Do find opportunities for experiences like virtual field trips. Take advantage of experiences that websites, museums, and children’s organizations are offering.
- Don’t expect to follow the same pacing as you did last year. Everything takes longer, and that’s OK.
- Don’t be so hard on yourself or your students. Give yourself and your students grace. It’s easy to get discouraged when something goes wrong. When something does go wrong, don’t take it personally. This is all new for you and your students.
- Don’t forget to unmute (or mute) yourself! This happens to me WAY too many times!
- Don’t overextend yourself trying to keep up with other teachers. Find 2-3 resources/apps you and your students are familiar with and stick to them.
- Don’t forget to practice self-care. Teaching concurrently is no easy feat, so make sure you take care of yourself! Meditate, stay active, spend time with your family, and leave schoolwork at work every so often. Self-care is not selfish. You cannot serve from an empty vessel.
Take care and best of luck, teacher friends!