This is for the teachers. I give you all my advice on teaching effectively, giving you the truth about what it's like working with kids, and help you avoid the struggles I had in my early years of teaching. This, is the Theory Dance Blog.
Let’s get real,Before Covid-19 hit we were all comfortable going to our studios, teaching the kids, doing all the things and BOOM. Everything changed in literally a week.
On the first day I decided to cancel rehearsal so we could stay safe, I thought to myself, okay what are we going to do? Play defense and hope for the best? Or play offense, make a change, and accept how we are going to handle this.
Naturally I was scared but felt I had no option but to play offense.
Within hours I was researching my options of how to teach virtually because let’s be real, I can’t afford for my students to quit and stop paying their tuition because we were not holding rehearsal. That was an unbearable thought and I did not like feeling helpless in this situation. So after much research and consideration on which virtual platform is best, I chose Zoom.
Here are 6 tips on how to teach via Zoom during Covid-19
Being in the studio it is easy to make eye contact with the kids. Get on their level and look them in the eyes. Easy right? Well, virtually it is a little different. You want to make sure you look directly in the camera when speaking to them, not at their square on the screen. So when you give them corrections, explain the next move, or simply say hello- look directly in camera. This allows them to feel more of a connection with you and honestly, you want them to feel like there is not a screen between you. Even though they know that’s the case.
This may seem obvious and common sense right? Of course it should ALWAYS be fun. But, keeping a kids attention on the screen is harder than you would think. The amount of distractions kids have in their home is higher than if they are in the studio. So, keep them moving and switching up the movement constantly so they have to pay attention to keep up with you.
This is going to happen. No matter how amazing your wifi is, this is a prerequisite for teaching online. Instead of stressing, just understand it will happen and make it a game with the kids. Tell them kids something like “Okay you guys, if my square freezes don’t worry, I’ll be back” Or give them a hand signal to do so you know you are frozen. This allows them to feel helpful and they will not be annoyed you keep freezing. I’m all about no stress. It is always more fun to make it a game then to worry about what parents are going to think. They understand and frankly, they don’t seem to care. I have had many issues with freezing by now and I have found that as long as the kids are smiling and occupied, parents are happy.
Now, this is a serious one. Protect your account. You have probably heard of “Zoom Bombing” and if you haven’t let me explain. It has been popular than strangers and bad guys log into Zoom meetings that are not protected and say or show inappropriate things during your meeting. Now as you can imagine, this is extremely dangerous, especially with children. In order for your meetings to be safe you need to make sure you have a safe and protected meeting. to get my simple step by step process on how to make your meeting safe for yourself and your students.
This tricked me at first. When I logged onto my first meeting I was so confused on why I could only see one student at a time. The reason why was because I had thee setting on “Speaker View” not “Gallery View.” Gallery View allows you to see everyone in your meeting, or let’s say your new classroom. Speaker view allows you to see only the speaker. Makes sense right? Well, sometimes you don’t know until you know and that make me light weight panic during our first class. I worried I wouldn’t be able to see all the kids, but there ya go. No need to panic, I got you.
For some kids with bad connection on their end, I advise them to use the chat box. Sometimes the student can see and hear me fine but they are frozen on my end. So I tell them to just asked me in the chat box any questions they may have. That way, the student is not left out regardless of connection. Now, be careful allowing kids use the chat room during class for a normal discussion. It causes a huge distraction and you may find yourself talking to a class full of kids who are not paying attention to you. That’s awk. My rule for the chat room is for questions and encouragement only. For example, if students are free styling or dancing in groups, they can compliment other dancers but they can not tell us all what they are having for dinner that night. Even though I may want inspiration for my own dinner… it’s far too distracting. Catch my drift?
Week 1 was weird for me because I was nervous to teach in a new way. Does anyone else feel anxious and sick ALL DAY LONG before trying something new? Oh just me, cool cool.
The first week of teaching online I had so much prepared and I tried to cram all this information and training into their heads to get time to pass efficiently but also sell to parents and myself that this works. But what I realized as I have gotten more comfortable is that kids need the social interaction. So week 2 I planned less and had them participate more. I do things like test the names of skills or allow them to ask question or correct each other. It ended up being way more fun and they actually learned more.
We were all forced to adjust in the blink of an eye. Do not allow this to be a time you get give up because it is different. Your students need you and they need your consistency. Remember, all other sports, activities, birthday parties, and school was cancelled. There are very few extra curricular activities that are even able to be virtual. Take advantage of the internet and let’s do this.
If you are just starting out teaching and this is overwhelming. Reach out to me on the gram and let me help you get started.
Here is an example of a comment on a post. Looking great!