How to Mentor a New Online Teacher
Subtitle: Turn the computer on. No, the button does not say “on” it is just a button with a little on symbol. No, that button ejects a CD!! Just click the on button...
This is gonna be a long day.
Fadwa, this is for you xoxoxo
82 days left....why am I even bothering with this????
Step 1: Establish a relationship. Before you even allow your protégée to turn on the computer screen you will need to establish a working relationship where they know that they can ask you questions. Personally, I found a morning coffee to be quite useful, but establish this routine to occur at a normal hour. Like 8 a.m. Because your protégée may get up at 4 like a crazy woman and think you will too. Oh hell no, at 4 a.m. it is me, Daniel Jackson and a cave-in on another planet. Not work. Ever.
Step 2: Check their basic technology skills. Now, I understand that the online medium is relatively new to everyone, but there are few things that you should know before you embark on the wide world of online education:
Skills needed to teach online
Know how to turn the computer on
Know how to scroll down
Know how to open the internet
Know that strike any key means ANY key not NE key
There are more, many more, but we are just starting here, right? Let’s take things slowly.
Step 3: Show them how the website works. This is super important because chances are your software and server come from Canada, and we all know that Canadians should really just stick to exporting Hockey players and hot blue eyed actors (and you guys can just export Mr. Canadian Hot Pants right my way, I’m happy to send you the address). The website will make perfect sense in version 1.0, a little better sense in version 2.0 but by version 3.0 you and the tech guy are threatening to go make some nut butter. (See Southpark). Considering your frustration level, and that they may still be at step 2, you might just want to give them a primer.
Step 4: Sounds like your computer is frozen. Yea, frozen. What? A what? No you don’t need a heating pad......
Step 5: Make sure they are meeting with the students. Now, the difference between online learning versus school in a box is that online learning requires a teacher to interact with the students. A lot. Like so much my mom came to bring me lunch one day because she’s awesome and couldn’t even discuss the third Sookie Stackhouse book with me for five freakin’ minutes because the phone was ringing so much. And on top of that, you need to meet them in the virtual classroom as well, which you should have explained to your protégée in step 3. Not only is this vital to their education, but it cuts down on the calls all day asking what you are doing, making you wonder yourself what exactly they are doing if they have time to call you.
Step 6: Huh? What do you mean all of the students have F’s in the gradebook?? Right. Yeah. But you didn’t change that? It’s been that way all along? But it’s November, how did you not notice that they all have F’s???
Step 7: Slowly introduce extra tools. Slowly. Real slow. Like one app a month slow. Because, believe it or not, I do actually do more than just grade papers and answer the phone, really, I do, oh just be quiet. I make news items and other cool virtual tricks to help them remember things. Meme’s like this handy little reminder to make sure that they turn in their work:
Or, adorable Daniel Jackson memes that make them remember to do something like this.
But go slow. Really slow. Because otherwise you get ten thousand calls where you are asked to repeat the steps, all of them, slowly, and when you do they stop you and tell you they forgot to go get paper to write it down.......
Step 8: Which reminds me, make sure they have paper. Chances are, if they tried to apply a heating pad back in step 4, making them write down everything you say will be beneficial. Everything. Yes, repeat those steps back to me. Slowly. Ok, we can move on.
Step 9: Huh? Why are you calling now? We’re in a faculty meeting. Yes, right now, I had to mute it to answer the phone. Go log in. What do you mean you can’t log in, you did last week. What? No I am not going to unmute the meeting and shove the computers together so you can hear! (mutter and grumbles - shoving computers together). I’m not doing this again....I swear....
Step 10: Drink. Trust me, you need it. Because after deciding that you’re just going to have to get into your car and drive two hours away to meet with them in person, trying to teach them, do your own work, wrangle your kids and drive back in rush hour, you’re gonna need it. Barkeep (aka Hot Roommate, or if we have taken over the world Mr. Canadian Hot Pants - BTW Lexa I hope you are enjoy Channing, you’re most welcome) bring me a glass of Rioja. Hell hun, just leave the bottle.