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Staying Connected in a Virtual World

Just as schools were finally making the brave and long-awaited move back to in-person learning, I heard yesterday that one of the schools in our region was already forced back to distance learning following an increase in Covid cases and exposures among students. As I visited with my colleagues about this I learned that several other schools in our area were facing the same fate. So, here we are. Rolling with the punches. Trying to be flexible and patient and trying to stay connected to our students...our kids.

Research is clear on how vital teacher to student connections are. Students who feel connected to their school (and their teachers) are more likely to stay engaged in school, have fewer behavior issues, are more academically successful and have a much greater chance of graduating on time. Arguably, teacher to student connection is more important now than ever. During distance learning teachers serve as a constant amid the change, the fear, and the uncertainty.

I'd like to share a resource here from Angela Watson. Angela is a teacher and instructional coach who started the blog, The Cornerstone for Teachers. Back in March of last year (we all remember March of last year :/), she wrote a post, "Twelve Ways to Connect With Kids and Prioritize Relationships While Teaching Remotely". And, in the year since I read this post, I have yet to find a better resource for teachers on this topic. This post offers twelve easy to implement ways to increase connectedness with students over the air waves. I'm posting it in its entirety below:


During emergency distance learning, look for small, simple ways you can center kids’ physical and mental well-being, which will, in turn, be energizing and uplifting for you, as well.

I’ve collected 12 types of ideas from members of the 40 Hour Teacher Workweek Club to give you some insight into how other K-12 teachers from around the world are facing the challenges of teaching remotely in crisis.

Regardless of how much (or how little) contact with your students you’re able to have, and how much (or how little) academic instruction is happening, these ideas can help you prioritize relationships with your students and stay connected.

1. Let kids see your face

“Many teachers recorded a short video last week saying hello and the principal sent out a montage of those to families today.” -Colleen

“All of the teachers are sending in pictures and I’m going to compile them into an iMovie with a song as a background, and we are going to send it out to all of our families just so they know how much we miss seeing our students and how much we care about them. Als