A Message to FLVS Teachers from Students
FLVS teachers and staff members recently returned from our annual In-Service Training.
This yearly event is a great time to meet with colleagues face to face, sharpen our skills, and put a few new tricks in our hats.
I was pleasantly surprised to walk into a session in which some of our students were part of a panel telling us what a day in their life is like. They spoke candidly and honestly and some of what they said needs to be in the FLVS Teaching Handbook!
Here are some of those pearls of wisdom, straight from the source.
“It’s not what you say in your text or email, it’s how you word it…”
The students were referring to those messages our teachers sometimes send as a reminder for overdue work, or a phone call return to complete a DBA or monthly call.
For some teachers, this text or email message might be one in a series or one in a list of many students they need to communicate with. However, sometimes we forget how that message will be received by that one student. Teachers, let’s remember that our words can make or break our students’ spirit!
Encourage, cheer, gently nudge, and when in doubt, ask a colleague to check your text or email message and see how it comes across. Sometimes a fresh pair of eyes is all we need to communicate effectively!
“Virtual teachers make a great effort to connect…and we appreciate that!”
Because we live and work in this virtual habitat, sometimes we don’t get to hear that squeal of excitement when we present a fun lesson or when a student “gets it.” Once in a while, a student will make a comment or send a thank you note, but most of the time we wonder, is all this effort worth it?
The answer is an enthusiastic “Yes!” Students notice the effort and appreciate it, even if they don’t always show it.
So if you’re a teacher, ask them once in a while…you may be surprised!
“Re-submissions really help with mastering content!”
I was surprised at how important this seemed to the students in our panel. We automatically offer help documents, one-on-one chats, and reviews, but for each individual, this is a whole new world of opportunity that a student may not have in a brick-and-mortar environment. Let’s keep encouraging those re-submissions to lead our students to success!
“Give us a chance to try the mic in your live lesson! We will try it eventually; when we do, you’ll have to turn it off!”
This was funny, but definitely spot on. It made me think of those baby books that say to offer new food to a baby at least 12 times before they accept it…it’s kind of the same with the microphone during a live lesson.
Once students feel comfortable you’ll need to have them take timed turns!
“We love brain breaks!”
It surprised me how enthusiastic they were about this topic, which I had casually brushed aside as some new fad I would try eventually sometime this year…or maybe next…
But really, once you look into it, you realize it is a great research-based strategy that really works.
Learn more about brain breaks here — and if you’re a teacher already using these in your live lessons, leave us a comment below on how you do it. We learn so much from each other as teachers too!
“Meaningful connections start with the welcome call. Get to know us and get us involved. It goes a long way!”
This was probably the one that resonated with me the most during that session. I know sometimes FLVS teachers might see our welcome calls as one more administrative requirement we need to complete; after all we have all that grading to complete and all that meaningful feedback to give, right?
Well, it seems that for our students, that call is the pinnacle of their course experience with you, so we better make it count! Take a minute to ask about their life. What do they do for fun? How is her mom doing after her surgery?
Those conversations are never a waste of time — they are actually your connection with that student and it will set the tone for the rest of the year. And our students are craving that connection. Isn’t that amazing? I am certainly going to try and make this a goal for me this year!
The takeaways above were first published as tweets during the In-Service event. Find me on Twitter @RodriguezFLVS. Want to see the original Tweets? Search for #FLVSInService2016.
Thank you to our students who participated in the In-Service panel: Jake and Olivia, two of our FLVS Full Time Peer Ambassadors; Lauren, “News in a Click” Student Newspaper Editor-in-Chief; and Katherine, FLVS Flex Student Ambassadors Club President. It was great meeting you in person!